Caring and dealing with people having Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenging proposition for both family members and caregivers. That is because it is a time-consuming, stressful and intensely emotional process as there is a decrease in the cognitive, physical and functional capabilities as the disease progresses. Senior Citizen Alzheimer care, particularly, can be more demanding as the elders are likely to be also suffering from other medical conditions simultaneously that need attention. But it is important that caregiving must be done with utmost dedication for it goes a long way in improving the quality of the patient’s life.
The type of care to be administered depends on the patient’s health condition and Alzheimer’s disease stages . The rate of progression of this disease varies widely and the degree of impairment at the diagnosis can be helpful in determining the life expectancy of the patient. The stages of the disease may be categorized as follows-
- Stage 1: Normal External Behaviour
- Stage 2: Mild Behavioural Changes
- Stage 3: Mild Decline in Thinking and Reasoning Abilities
- Stage 4: Moderate Deterioration in Thinking Abilities and Emergence of New Problems like Forgetting.
- Stage 5: Severe Decline in Memory and Occurrence of Mental Confusion.
- Stage 6: More Severe Decline in Memory, Onset of Delusion and Mild Loss of Independence.
- Stage 7: Severe Decline in Functioning Capabilities including Inability to Perform Daily Activities.
Tips for Dealing with Alzheimer’s Patients
Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are prone to face overwhelming emotions, fatigue, exhaustion, loneliness, depression and problems in balancing work and personal life. Some useful tips that will enable them to give their best in the caretaking task include:
- Proactively plan for the road ahead in terms of future hurdles likely to be encountered and foster reasonable expectations to remain optimistic. Take cautious decisions about who will take the call on the healthcare and financial aspects of the patient and meet their daily needs uninterruptedly if required.
- Formulate a personal plan to learn or update about caregiving skills so as to provide personalized care, seek help if needed, utilize the available resources efficiently and enrol yourself in support groups to connect with others and learn from their experiences. Caregivers must also take care of their personal health by exercising regularly, socializing and practicing relaxation techniques.
- Maintain consistent day-to-day routines for the patients as structure and familiarity gives predictability to their lives and avoids the stress and fear of the unknown. Giving visual or audio cues is also helpful for them as they know what to expect even if they are not able to communicate properly. Involving seniors with Alzheimer’s disease in daily activities to the extent possible also increases their self-confidence for being independent and keeps them engaged meaningfully.
- Develop a customized activity schedule for the patient taking into account their personal preferences and interests, make variations in the itinerary to evade boredom, plan outings and involve them in group events to promote better social connections.
- Make simple and suitable modifications routine lifestyle to deal with problematic behaviours like aggression, wandering, sleeplessness and eating difficulties to reduce anxiety and improve the well-being of the patient. Acceptance and emotional awareness is also very beneficial in caregiving as such patients need more empathy and understanding than medical interventions.
Family members who assume the role of caregivers can avail the services of Home Care for Alzheimer patients when they need a respite, break or are unable to handle the patient needs alone. This is indeed refreshing for both the caregiver and the patient as it reduces the burden significantly. The facility of Home Nursing Care for Alzheimer’s patients is also available for those elders who cannot be independent and need assistance for managing their daily and healthcare needs. Here, trained professionals provide the required assistance so that people with Alzheimer’s disease receive the utmost care in an empathetic atmosphere.