As Alzheimer’s progresses and a person’s abilities gradually dwindle, caregivers have the particularly difficult job of making sure the patient feels safe and valued. Here are some pragmatic tips which can help you provide the care your loved one needs:
As once-simple problems become increasingly difficult for the patient, he or she may become frustrated. Take precautionary steps to reduce the daily challenges for your loved one:
—Schedule: A steady routine, with harder tasks scheduled for the times when your loved one is calm, can help keep your loved from getting confused.
—Go slow: Your loved one may simply have to go slower than usual. Allow some extra time in your schedule accordingly.
—Involve your loved one: Whatever your loved one can do without assistance, let them do it. This adds to their sense of independence.
—Reduce choices: Fewer options make easier decisions. Choosing between prepared outfits is easier than sorting through a whole closet.
—Go step-by-step: When you ask your loved one to do something, break it down into simple steps.
—Limit distractions: During tasks and conversations, turn off the TV or radio so your loved one can focus.
An Alzheimer’s patient’s abilities will steadily diminish and can vary from day to day. It’s important to adapt to the situation.
—Change when needed: If your loved one ceases to like something, like a favorite food or activity, change the routine to accommodate this.
—Relax your standards: Bathing, especially if it is difficult for your loved one, can be skipped from time to time or supplemented with sponge baths. Find areas where you can afford a little slack.
Alzheimer’s reduces the patient’s ability to make good judgments. This exposes him or her to injury. Take steps to keep your loved one safe.
—Prevent falls: Loose rugs, power cords or any general mess can cause a dangerous fall. Install handrails in areas like stairs or steps.
—Lock it up: Put locks on cabinets with hazardous materials, such as alcohol, guns, medicine, cleaning solutions, knives and hardware.
—Think about fire safety: Keep matches and lighters safely away from your loved one. Supervise all cigarette smoking, and make sure you have an accessible fire extinguisher and working smoke alarms.
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