Caring for an older parent living with Alzheimer’s is a rewarding but challenging role. As the disease process progresses, memories deteriorate. Your loved one may also exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors. However, by implementing a few strategies, you may find the task less stressful.
1. Early Stage Reminders
During the early phase of the disease, seniors typically remain capable of functioning. They may forget where they place items or when to take their medication, or they might miss appointments. Simple reminders posted on a calendar and lists of schedules often prove helpful. Verbal reminders or automated medication dispensers ensure meds are taken on time.
2. Daily Care
As Alzheimer’s progresses, seniors no longer remember how to take care of themselves. They must be reminded when mealtimes occur. You may need to assist your loved one with dressing to ensure he or she is attired properly. Some seniors with Alzheimer’s may not realize when they need to use the bathroom, so encourage visiting the bathroom every few hours, accompanying your loved one if necessary. Personal grooming assistance is also usually an eventual necessity.
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 in-home care 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.
3. Safety Issues
As time goes by, seniors with Alzheimer’s no longer remember how to go to and from home. Any excursion away from home should be accompanied by another family member. Seniors may want to drive but have forgotten how to obey traffic laws, which makes them a hazard to themselves and others on the road.
A professional caregiver with experience in Alzheimer’s care can provide safety and companionship for your loved one. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Philadelphia senior care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
4. Sleep Issues
In time, seniors with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to differentiate between night and day. Thus, they often awaken during the night and wander. Consider installing locks higher up on doors to prevent your parent from venturing outside in the middle of the night. Motion detectors in the bedroom and by exterior doors can alert you when your parent needs assistance. If your parent is able to walk, accompany him or her on daily strolls, and perhaps develop a simple exercise routine. Daily physical activity promotes more restful sleep at night.
5. Visual Disturbances
Alzheimer’s affects more than just a senior’s memory. The toxic proteins accumulate throughout the brain, entangling the neurons responsible for other functions, including sight. The visual disturbances reach the point where seniors are no longer able to differentiate between two similar colors. Depth perception fails. On the other hand, contrasting colors may give the impression of holes in the floor. Ensure pathways remain uncluttered, and provide night-lights to prevent accidents.
As outdoor light changes later in the afternoon, seniors with Alzheimer’s often exhibit behavioral changes known as sundowning. They might easily become angry, suspicious, or paranoid. Increasing indoor lighting may offset the difference.
7. Behavioral Changes
Sometimes seniors with Alzheimer’s become resistant to personal care. Resist arguing with your loved one. Try again later. Your loved one may become sad or angry for no apparent reason, need to use the bathroom, be hungry or thirsty, or experience physical discomfort for some reason. However, he or she cannot find the words needed to express the concern. Ask simple questions to determine the underlying cause.
Being a caregiver for your loved one can be extremely rewarding, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. 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. Philadelphia 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. Whether your parent needs respite or live-in care, give us a call at (215) 645-4663 today.