According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 34 million people in the United States provide care for older loved ones. While assuming the caregiver role provides a rewarding experience, caring for a loved one afflicted by Alzheimer’s presents several additional challenges. Regardless of the pleasant or trying times that occur each day, caregivers must remember their loved ones display symptoms that are a direct result of a disease process over which they have no control. Here are some tips for treating an aging loved one living with Alzheimer’s.
Regardless of the disease phase and the symptoms that follow, your loved one must always be treated with respect. Resist the urge to talk to or treat your loved one as if he or she were a child. At times, your loved one may exhibit behaviors that aren’t normally appropriate for his or her age. You must remember the damage created by Alzheimer’s is the underlying cause and cannot be helped.
One of the most important things to consider is whether and when to hire a professional caregiver for your loved one. Families looking for top-rated homecare providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
Caregiving becomes frustrating and stressful when seniors with Alzheimer’s resist assistance or become belligerent or uncooperative. However, expressing negative emotions or speaking loudly can create tension and agitation. Remain calm, compassionate, and supportive. If necessary, take a few minutes away from the situation to cool down and compose yourself.
Learn to Communicate Effectively
Especially when the disorder progresses, your parent must be aware of your physical presence before verbal communication begins. Make eye contact and offer a gentle touch on the back or an arm. Speak calmly and softly, and keep sentences or questions simple. Otherwise, your loved one’s brain may not be able to absorb and understand everything you say. Allow time to respond. When guiding your loved one to a specific task, use simple statements instead of posing a question. Asking whether he or she wants to take a bath or perform some other activity may be met with resistance. However, do offer choices. For example, let your loved one decide between meal options or the clothes he or she might like to wear.
A professional caregiver with experience in Alzheimer’s care can be a wonderful source of information and support. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Lakewood elderly home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s may experience delusions about other people or circumstances. The behavior more than likely occurs in the afternoon and is known as sundowner’s syndrome. Don’t negate these thoughts or feelings. Allow your loved one to express him or herself freely, and offer compassion. Try diverting your loved one’s attention to another activity. Take a walk outdoors or encourage listening to music. Your loved one might become agitated, angry, or depressed due to an underlying cause. Due to the brain damage, your loved one cannot effectively share his or her concerns. Determine if your loved one is experiencing physical pain, needs to use the bathroom, or is hungry or thirsty.
Encourage Cognitive Stimulation
Look at scrapbooks or listen to music together, and initiate conversations about family members, friends, or events. Every day, engage your loved one in an activity that enables him or her to express creativity or memory skills. These acts can stimulate multiple areas of the brain and allow neurons to develop new communication pathways.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Lakewood Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Call Home Care Assistance today at (303) 987-5992 to learn about our high-quality in-home Alzheimer’s care services.