In-home care mostly includes a wide range of caretaking services provided in the home, that allows a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia to stay in their own home.
In this article, we will discuss the different ways to help people care for someone with Alzheimer’s on their own and when to seek professional help.
Firstly, let’s understand what Alzheimer’s is and how it’s different from Dementia?
Dementia is a term that is used to describe symptoms that affect the memory, the execution of daily activities, and communication abilities. It is not a specific disease rather, a group of conditions that result in the impairment of at least two brain functions including, judgment and memory loss. The symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities, thereby interfering with daily functioning.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease that slowly destroys brain cells and adversely affects the patient’s thought processes and memory.
Currently, there is no known cure for these conditions but medication and management strategies may curtail the effects to a certain extent and temporarily improve symptoms.
People who have Alzheimer’s often receive daily assistance and care from their family, or close friends. As per the CDC, 32% of caregivers of patients with dementia usually provide care for 5 or more years.
Steps to take Proper In-Home Care For Seniors With Alzheimer’s or Dementia:
1. Educate Yourself About Alzheimer’s disease
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s worsen with age, and as the disease progresses, new challenges arise. It is vital to understand the various stages of Alzheimer’s and their associated symptoms to help you plan.
Alzheimer’s disease is classified into three stages- Mild, Moderate, and Severe.
This stage is for people having difficulty while concentrating or remembering recent events. People with mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease can still be able to function independently and participate in social or professional events.
Moderate Alzheimer’s disease causes significant memory loss, confusion, and behavior change. People at this stage may exhibit a higher level of forgetfulness and memory loss, apart from difficulties in performing daily tasks, personality changes, or restlessness.
People in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease require round-the-clock help with all their basic daily activities, including sitting up, walking, and eating. This is in addition to losing awareness of their environment and no longer recognizing their loved ones.
2. Create a routine and strictly adhere to it
You can help patients with Alzheimer’s feel more comfortable by establishing a constant daily routine. Doing this helps reinforce a sense of familiarity in the person who has Alzheimer’s and keeps them grounded. Significant changes to a routine should be avoided as they can be confusing for the patient.
At times, some changes are unavoidable, such as introducing a new care provider or switching their regular surroundings. Individuals with Alzheimer’s require time to adjust to new people and places, so these changes must be implemented gradually.
3. Plan fun, engaging activities
Fun and engaging activities, such as listening to music, can help keep a person with Alzheimer’s entertained and distracted. You can incorporate various activities into their daily schedules, including, cooking, baking, dancing, listening to music, easy household chores (like folding laundry), regular walks in the park, seeing an entertaining movie, or spending time with children.
These activities and outings should be planned around the time of day when the individual with Alzheimer’s is at their best, which can vary from person to person.
4. Promote ongoing communication
Alzheimer’s disease adversely affects a person’s ability to communicate with others. They often face difficulty while interpreting or remembering specific words, causing them to lose their train of thought in the middle of a sentence.
The following strategies can be used to make communication easier:
- Maintaining eye contact and smile
- Asking one question at a time
- Refer to the person by their name
- Using open and relaxed body language
- Speak in a soft, calming voice.
- Remaining calm during angry outbursts
5. Feed them a nutritious diet
It is vital to help those with Alzheimer’s eat well and stay hydrated. People with Alzheimer’s may lose weight, especially if they: cannot remember when they last ate, or have trouble chewing and swallowing.
As a caregiver, you can ensure that the patient gets enough nutritious food to eat by:
- Serving meals at the same time every day.
- Serving food on colorful plates can help highlight the food.
- Encouraging them to take multivitamins.
- Ensuring a quiet dining area by turning off the radio or television.
- Selecting foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
6. Boost their self-esteem
Looking good is in numerous ways linked to a person’s self-esteem. It can work wonders for a person with Alzheimer’s as it will not only help them feel good but also alleviate the anxiety Alzheimer’s causes by allowing them to feel “more like themselves.”
There are many ways by which you can help an Alzheimer’s patient with hygiene and grooming:
- Ensuring that they brush their teeth at fixed times.
- Helping them put on makeup if they usually wear it.
- Encouraging Them to shave if they usually do and helping if necessary.
- Keeping their nails trimmed or even colored!
- Helping them choose outfits.
- Buying them loose and comfortable clothing.
- Choosing clothes with zippers instead of laces and buttons.
7. Keep them safe- Ensuring round-the-clock care.
A majority of everyday situations can mentally disturb a person with Alzheimer’s. make them feel unsafe and even put them in actual danger.
Some safety tips include:
- Make sure they have sturdy, comfortable shoes.
- Put brightly colored tape on the edge of the steps.
- Ensure that any sharp corners on furniture are padded.
- Place “hot” and “cold” stickers near taps.
- Install safety locks on the stove or any dangerous equipment in the house.
- Make sure they take their medication correctly and on time.
Covid-19 Tips For Dementia/Alzheimer’s Caregivers:
Alzheimer’s and other dementias are in no way related or a risk factor for Covid-19. However, the related behaviors, increased age, and common health conditions that often accompany these conditions may increase the risk for the disease.
As a caregiver, it is necessary that you follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and consider the following tips:
- Make sure that the patient is vaccinated on time.
- Since these conditions cause memory loss, you need to make sure to feed them immunity-boosting foods and multivitamins.
- Consider placing signs in the bathroom and elsewhere to remind people with dementia to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds. You can also demonstrate thorough hand-washing.
- People with dementia often exhibit increased confusion as the first symptom of any illness. If a patient shows rapidly increased confusion or any other sudden changes in behavior, contact your health care provider for advice.
When to seek professional help for seniors with Alzheimer’s/Dementia?
A person with Alzheimer’s may require full-time professional help if they need complete assistance with daily and personal care activities. These patients will require more care as their condition progresses. As a caregiver, you may require daily assistance while performing physically demanding tasks, such as bathing, moving, or dressing them, which may lead you to consider seeking professional help:
- Requires full-time assistance with daily and personal care activities
- Loses the ability to walk
- Experiences a seizure
- Unexpectedly loss of a significant amount of body weight
- Experiences a fall or other type of injury
- Has bouts of anxiety or agitation
- Tends to wander away or get lost
As a caregiver, if you are already suffering from any health issue, or, experiencing adverse health effects, such as chronic stress, fatigue, or depression, you most likely require full-time professional assistance. This will not only result in better care for your loved one but give you enough time to focus on your health as well.
Where to find skilled and certified In-house care takers?
If you are looking for skilled medical assistance from a healthcare provider you can trust, look no further than Amani Home Care. Our professional care team and nurses are here to ensure your peace of mind by providing personal, experienced care in the comfort of your home. Whatever your personal and medical assistance needs are, Amani Home Care has it covered.
Our professional, registered medical staff provides reliable care in the comfort of your home, thereby managing the needs of your loved one. From personal care needs for people with Alzheimer’s, or dementia, to nursing and senior care programs, we provide the best-in-class home healthcare services in Virginia. Our approach towards taking care of elders living with Alzheimer’s and dementia is simple, we make sure they are always comfortable, loved, and treated with utmost dignity, and specialized memory care.