As a family caregiver, caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s making them feel loved and wanted through long-term care is vital. This is a very difficult and complicated condition that can progress over time without cure or clear understanding of how the disease progresses. June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, so here are a few tips to help family caregivers manage the needs of their loved ones brain related illnesses.
Keep A Schedule
A person with Alzheimer’s or dementia is likely to suffer from extreme frustration due to memory loss and uncertainty. Planning a schedule that offers specific times for when certain activities are to take place with a bit of flexibility may help lessen that frustration.
Create A Comfortable Environment
Home may be the most comfortable place for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient to be in. Try to allow that person to have freedom inside their home without being at risk of significant harm.
The in-home environment should still be comfortable. Try to manage the heating and air conditioning system so that it creates a comfortable climate, but also be willing to adjust the temperature based on your loved one’s request.
Try to make sure the home is well lit. It might be easier for a person to move through the house and creating a bright environment will make it easy for a person to feel comfortable.
Keep Distractions in Check
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia entails a person becoming increasingly distracted by various things. A person might be distracted by a television set in the background or by some person moving outside of one’s home.
Keep all distractions in the home under control. This will make it easier for them to focus on whatever the task or activity at hand might be. Getting rid of distractions also reduces the potential for a person to become overly confused.
Give Clear Instructions
From painting to crafting or even sporting activities, there are many great and productive things you can do with your loved ones. As you look at the things you plan on doing with them, think about how you are providing a person with the necessary instructions for those activities.
It is best to talk with them in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. Don’t add too much information all at once. Be clear and direct with your instructions and allow them time to hear and understand what you saying and asking them to do. Be patient and answer any questions they have as well.
Let Them Make Choices
Just because you are taking care of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient, it doesn’t mean you have to hold full control over that person. Respect their desires and help support their general sense of control over their own life.
Always allow for a few choices as you are planning particular activities. You can allow them to choose what drink, what clothes to wear, and so forth. Giving them choices also ensures that they will want to work alongside you and listen to what you have to say.
Safety Is Key
Being in a familiar environment, like their own home, makes it easy for a person with Alzheimer’s to enjoy life and be cooperative with others, but over time it can be easy for their home to become dangerous. Creating a safer environment that is a little easier to control, will make it easier to care for them and help both you, the caregiver, and your loved one to remain positive about them aging in place. Start by ensuring that all of the floors and surfaces in a home are kept clear and organized. That may mean removing any rugs, cords or other obstructions.
You can also add locks to different surfaces around a home to ensure a patient does not get into any cabinets or other spaces that might contain potentially dangerous items. Don’t forget, Freudenthal offers free in-home assessments to help with creating a safe environment for your loved ones.
No matter what you are doing with an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient, always try be caring and understanding of that person’s needs. Every person with one of these diseases responds to it differently, and it’s progression can be unpredictable. If your loved one does something wrong or has a mental lapse try not to criticize them. Instead, be encouraging and supportive. Remember it’s all about providing your loved one with the dignity and support they truly deserve.