Five home care tips for Alzheimer's
More and more families are turning to a home care professional for seniors or Alzheimer's to help caregivers at home or at home with family members.
People with Alzheimer's disease feel better in a familiar environment where they can maintain their routine. As long as the patient does not require 24-hour supervision or palliative care, it will be beneficial to promote home care.
In the early stages, before Alzheimer's disease progresses, many people are still very autonomous. They do not see the need for a professional caregiver and it is important to respect their choice to remain independent.
Their ability to manage household tasks such as meals will decrease over time and a secure environment will become essential in the advanced stages of the disease. It will then be up to the family to find out about the services available for home care. They will have to make a decision about hiring help because Alzheimer's disease also has a significant impact on caregivers and their friends.
Home help includes supervision and personal care (bathing, hygiene, meals, etc.) but also nursing and many other specialized cares.
5 Home Care Tips for Alzheimer's Every Caregiver Should Know
1. Rely on a daily routine
Routines are a necessity to take care of people with Alzheimer's for whom change is difficult:
- Involving the person in daily tasks reduces the risk of forgetting how they perform these tasks (getting dressed, doing housework).
- Establish a routine for each day. Be consistent, if you say you're going to do something, do it. Plan the difficult tasks (bath or medical appointment) at the time when the patient is the quietest.
- If the loved one presents "Dawn Syndrome", reverse some routines, such as putting the bath back in the morning.
- Keep social links; individual or small group meetings are easier.
- Encourage independence. He or she will be able to dress alone if the clothes are tidy. Sort the cupboards so that only a few seasonal outfits are in view.
2. Eliminate sources of frustration
People with Alzheimer's can be agitated when simple tasks suddenly become difficult. Here are some activities to consider:
- Limit choices, break down tasks into steps. If your loved one is over-excited or has a limited attention span, suggest simple activities.
- Place visual clues such as instructions (brushing teeth) and graphic posters on bathrooms, refrigerator, any important or dangerous place.
- Involve your loved one in daily activities. Fold and sort the laundry with him/her. Wash the dishes and give him/her a towel to wipe.
- Use a calendar showing the activities of the day instead of repeating them.
- Turn off the TV during meals and conversations so that your loved one can concentrate better on the task.
3. A good structure is one of the keys to maintaining a quality of life
Many simple things can help your loved one manage their daily tasks.
- Choose an obvious place to keep the keys (entrance hall). Leave an extra key set to a neighbour.
- Create a list of professional caregiver phone numbers (types of care, tasks performed, which days, contact). Display this list near the phone, program it in the phone and cell phone of the patient.
- Label the cabinets with words or images describing what they contain (dishes, knives, forks, cereals, etc.)
- Set up cupboards and drawers, keep only the necessary items to facilitate decision-making.
- Have a daily newspaper delivered to remind the person of the date.
- Organize the drugs as a pod. Always give doses at the same time.
4. Safety should always be a priority
Consider what the person can do. Develop strategies to carry out difficult activities or when loss of judgment increases the risk of injury.
- Prevent falls. Remove any area rugs and anything that could trip over. Install grab bars in critical areas.
- Encourage walking and exercise to maintain strength and balance.
- Install locks on cabinets containing potentially dangerous objects (drugs, utensils, chemical cleaners, etc.)
- Use electrical appliances that turn off automatically.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Place reminders where they will be easily seen: "turn off the stove", "unplug the iron".
- Place the person's home address information.
5. Provide personalized care
Every person with Alzheimer's will progress differently.
- Focus on a personalized care program that takes into account his or her family's history, interests, abilities, needs, skills, and favourite activities.
Patience is the mother of all virtues... with Alzheimer's disease
It can be disturbing to see your loved one's abilities decline. With the help of a knowledgeable professional caregiver, you can more easily accept change and adapt to it.
Simply, expect to need more time to do things; allow more time than in the past.
And do not hesitate to use a professional caregiver especially if your loved one needs specialized care or regular treatment in a hospital environment.
For a free consultation in the comfort of your home.