Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative and incurable brain disease, can take such a toll on the lifestyle of not only the patient, but that of the family and friends of the person involved, as well. And since Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, all we can do is to control the behavioral symptoms of the patient with therapy and drugs. In addition, we can practice some steps to make life easier for both the patient and the caregiver.
Here are some of the important things to consider when dealing with a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease:
- Change the way you communicate with a person afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Before talking to him, make sure you have his attention. Use simple words and short sentences so he would understand what you are trying to say.
- Prevent arguments with the patient by playing along and not contradicting with what he says. This will encourage better and smoother interaction.
- Do not expose the patient to big crowds because he might get uncomfortable with it. Limit noise and distractions to facilitate concentration.
- If the patient can still read and write, communicate with him by jotting down notes. However, talk only about the events that he can remember and relate to.
- Due to disorientation, most AD patients are prone to accidents. So keep him safe by ensuring that his surroundings are free of hazards. Install locks on all windows, doors, and gates.
- Make sure the patient carries some sort of identification like an ID or name tag, in case of wandering.
- To avoid accidentally locking the patient in, remove the locks from the inside of bathroom and bedroom doors.
- In the patient’s room, remove clutter from the floor to avoid falls. Moreover, make sure that he is kept away from equipment concerning fire and electricity.
- Make certain adjustments like keeping wallets, car keys, and cellular phones out of the patient’s reach.
- When dressing up the patient, make him wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to handle like those with Velcro. Allow him to choose what to wear – as long as it is appropriate – so he can feel that his choices are still important.
- If the patient has trouble sleeping, limit his caffeine intake and do not let him nap too much during the day.
- If the patient has trouble eating, limit his food choices and serve small portions. Ask him what he feels like eating or drinking and try to give him his cravings.
- Develop a regular schedule for bathing the patient. Pick the schedule when he is most calm and relaxed.
Caring for your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be rewarding, but can really take its toll on both you and the patient. So make sure to follow certain adjustments to make the lives of both of you more comfortable.