As Alzheimer’s disease becomes more and more prevalent, increasing numbers of adults are finding that they need to provide care for a loved one suffering from the disease. This can be a significant challenge, when the caregiver also has many other pulls on her time and attention—job, children or grandchildren, financial woes, and so on. If you are facing the many physical and mental challenges of caring for a loved one who is an Alzheimer’s patient, you may find the following tips helpful.
Early in the Alzheimer’s progression stages, the patient may fade between periods of confusion and perfect lucidity. While they will often understand something of their illness at this point, they will often be upset by suggestions that they are confused at a given time. Trying to correct or redirect them may result in anger or frustration, which may then lead to further confusion and disconnection. At such times, a useful approach may be to have a visual memory prompt available—a sign or chart which establishes the steps of a particular process, a picture or graph representing the information, or other similar visual guides. When your loved one can see the information for themselves and re-focus their mind appropriately, they may be less confrontational and more accepting of redirection.
An Alzheimer’s patient will tend to lose more and more of their recent memories and will focus increasingly on old memories. They may forget who you are or confuse you for a similar person further in their past. The most comfortable thing you can do is opt of assisted living and hire an in-home caregiver specializing in Alzheimer’s disease care. This is ideal to not only allow them to get the care they need regardless of the state of their memory that day, but they have the opportunity to still be in a familiar surrounding for those instances in which they do find more clarity in their memory. This is by far one of the most comfortable routes to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.