Alzheimer's is classed as a degenerative disease, meaning that as the disease progresses, it becomes harder for the sufferer to carry out daily tasks and activities that they once could. This can make caring for someone with Alzheimer's difficult as well as mentally and physically exhausting. Here are a few helpful tips and piece of advice to help you when caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease.
1. Reduce frustrations
People suffering from Alzheimer's often grow frustrated and agitated when they are unable to complete tasks that may once have been simple. When they become frustrated it can be distressing for them and they may become upset or aggressive but you can avoid this by making tasks easier and more enjoyable for them.
If you establish a routine for the person in your care it can make the day less confusing. It is often most beneficial to schedule tasks such as bathing or medical appointments when they are most refreshed as this will help them to process what is happening and will often be when they feel most calm. But don't forget to allow some flexibility for spontaneous activities throughout your scheduling - it's important to keep sufferers happy and entertained and allow them to live as normally as possible.
3. Take your time
It's normal for people with Alzheimer's to take longer to carry out tasks than others so expect things to take a little longer and schedule accordingly so that you don't have to rush them. You should also try to allow them frequent breaks so that they don't feel tired.
4. Involve the person you're caring for
It's important that when caring for someone with Alzheimer's you allow them to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. This will help them to feel comfortable and independent whilst knowing you are there for support if needed. For example, if you lay clothes out for them, they may then be able to dress themselves a little easier.
5. Provide choices
Although you should try and provide just a few options so as not to confuse them, it's important that you give the people in your care a choice in what they do. For example ask if they would like a hot or cold drink, or ask if they would like to go for a walk or watch a film.
6. Offer simple instructions
If someone suffers from Alzheimer's they'll understand you better if you use simple, clear, step-by-step instructions.
7. Reduce distractions
Alzheimer's sufferers are distracted easily so try turning off the TV and minimising distractions at meal times or during the conversation so that they can focus more easily.
These are just some of the simple steps you can take to make caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease a little easier. If you feel you need more support and advice, make use of our 24-hour home doctor service.