How to Take Care of a Senior Family Member Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

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According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease affects people over 64, with early-onset Alzheimer’s afflicting those as young as 40. As our loved ones grow older and encounter the misfortune of this disease, it’s important that family members know how to handle it.

When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are a lot of preparations to be made to help them cope. Each day presents a new challenge in terms of care, and it is more important than ever that the family knows how to address these tasks.

Simple, mundane tasks like bathing, eating, and walking may become harder for sick family members. However, if you have a plan set in place for every scenario, these challenges won’t seem as overwhelming.

Whether you’ve decided to get a home carer or you’ve decided to undertake the task, we’ve prepared a list of the things you should keep in mind.

Read on for tips on how you can best take care of a family member with Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Create a daily routine

If you’ve lived with your sick loved one long enough, you probably have a grasp on how his or her normal daily routine is. By creating a routine, you won’t have to scramble around every morning and figure out which task to do first.

Try to pattern your loved one’s routine with how their life was before they got diagnosed. This will help foster familiarity with them, and they won’t need as much help with things they’re used to doing.

2. Get the right equipment

Alzheimer’s disease is a sickness that brings about a few other issues with it. From senses to mobility, to memory: these are things that you should be well-equipped for after a loved one is diagnosed.

Senses may be one of the factors that Alzheimer’s disease can affect as, coupled with ageing, it impairs their daily life.

The ability to walk and do normal everyday things may also be a problem for sick elderly, which is why it’s important to address these beforehand.

It’s important for our loved ones to feel like they can still do the things they love doing, which is why it can be helpful to get the appropriate mobility equipment.

3. Cultivate Their Social Life

Remember that your family member needs to have a life outside of his or her disease. Maintaining a healthy social life can work wonders when it comes to their overall health!

Science has shown that having a healthy mental disposition can positively impact one’s recovery and wellbeing. From family visits to going out with their friends: these small activities can boost their mood.

4. Keep Them Active

Keeping our loved ones active through small, simple activities will not only engage their physical body but also improve their outlook in life. We don’t need to restrain them because it’s easy to match their interests!

Instead of venturing into something new, consider building on their likes and existing skills.

Short activities that aren’t too complicated are recommended. Offer praise for a job well done, and ask them what they’d like to do next. By doing this, you encourage communication and you get to keep things exciting for them.

This will maintain their functional skills, enhance productivity, and make them feel like they’re still in control of their lives.

5. Encourage Healthy Communication

It can become hard to communicate with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. However, this doesn’t mean that you should talk to them in a way that will make them feel inferior, like baby talk.

One useful tip is to make sure that you have their attention before talking to them. Maintain eye contact, and use simple words slowly.

Loved ones may struggle in finding a specific word, and you can gently coax them by suggesting what they may mean. Be sure to do it in an encouraging way.

In case all else fails and you’re simply unable to understand what they’re saying, try to look for context clues. You can figure out what they mean by their expression and body language.

Through open and healthy communication, you can have a better relationship with your family member.

6. Fortify Home Safety

One common fear for people suffering Alzheimer’s disease is that they may wander off, or get into an accident. Since he or she will be spending most of their time at home, it’s essential to keep hazards at bay.

People looking after sick family members need to reevaluate their home set-up. Since a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s is prone to slipping and falling, be sure that the house has no areas that are slippery and prone to falls.

They may also tend to wander off if not watched 24/7, so make sure that all your locks are fully working. Install secure locks on windows and doors so that they don’t accidentally leave your home and forget their way back.

Be adequately prepared for accidents such as fire by installing smoke detectors. You may also minimise the risk of this by setting up a remote surveillance system. Since modern versions of these allow you to see what’s going on in your home through phones, you’ll be able to look after a sick loved one even if you’re away.

7. Consistent Doctor’s Appointments

Even though you’ve taken on the task of caring for your loved one at home, it’s still important to check in with their doctor.

The best thing you can do to make sure that the appointment will go smoothly is to plan ahead. Find the time when your family member is the calmest and lucid. Schedule a visit when it is the least crowded, as this can agitate the patient.

Keep things positive as you talk about their trip to the hospital. Try not to impose any fear in them, and explain that the trip is for their own health.

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease may be a herculean task, but it is not impossible. With enough preparation and support, you’ll be able to find a set-up that will work for you and your loved one.

AUTHOR BIO

Jill is a writer that is currently travelling all-around Southeast Asia. She usually freelances for various companies in the UK. She likes to write about the benefits that mobility equipment give to elderly and PWDs. Jill enjoys writing about travelling, living with mobility issues, and making the most out of retirement.