Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s: The Complete Guide

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Family members often provide care for a parent with Alzheimer’s. While rewarding, the role of caregiver comes with a number of challenges and stress. Alzheimer’s disease affects many aspects of cognitive ability and eventually interferes with vision and communication skills. The ravaging effects also frequently cause personality and behavioral changes. Preparation is key for the welfare of the senior and family members.

Support

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your senior loved one may require less sleep and begin wandering at all hours of the night. While bed alarms and motion sensors can alert you when your loved one leaves the bedroom, the result includes sleep deprivation. For your loved one’s safety, someone needs to stay alert during the night. Multiple caregivers might consider taking turns to enable the others to get sufficient sleep. Primary caregivers need assistance in the event they need time off for a few hours or a few days. Other family members may help out by performing errands, taking your loved one to appointments, or assisting with financial matters.

One of the first things to consider is whether and when to hire a professional caregiver for your loved one. Families looking for top-rated homecare providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Safety

It isn’t possible for one person to monitor the actions of a senior with Alzheimer’s every minute of the day. For your loved one’s enhanced safety, use door alarms and motion detectors to alert you in the event your loved one attempts to venture outdoors unaccompanied. The disorder also causes visual disturbances that negate depth perception, causing difficulty differentiating between the height of steps. On the other hand, contrasting floor colors are perceived as being of different depths.

A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can be a wonderful source of information and support for family caregivers. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Richardson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Sundowner’s Syndrome

The neuronal damage caused by Alzheimer’s distorts the information received by the senses. Later in the afternoon, your loved one may exhibit behaviors known as sundowner’s syndrome. He or she may act suspicious of others or become paranoid for no apparent reason. Offer compassion, support, and understanding. Don’t minimize your loved one’s feelings or attempt to convince him or her of being wrong. Reassure your loved one and try using diversionary methods by listening to music or engaging him or her in a favorite activity. Keeping the home well lit as the sun sets also dissipates shadows that cause visual disturbances.

Agitation

Aging adults with Alzheimer’s may become agitated out of frustration. They may no longer be able to convey wants and needs verbally by finding the right words to express themselves. Observe your loved one’s body language. Determine if he or she needs to use the bathroom or is hungry or thirsty. Your loved one might also be experiencing physical discomfort. Ask simple questions to find the underlying cause of the problem. Sometimes, loud noise, crowds, or unfamiliar places invoke confusion and fear, which manifests as agitation.

Resistance

It’s not unusual for seniors with Alzheimer’s to resist daily care. Don’t pose a caregiving task as a question, as this offers the chance for resistance. Merely express the task as a statement. For example, say something like “Walk with me to the bathroom.”

Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Richardson Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (469) 573-4213.