Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia — term used for memory loss. Problems with cognition, behaviour and memory are seen in this disease. Due to the symptoms, patients find it difficult to manage day-to-day activities. Loved ones have to be supportive as Alzheimer’s patients become completely dependant on them over time. This dependancy can cause frustration and agitation as one-simple tasks have now become difficult.
What do Alzheimer’s patients need help with?
- Remembering people’s names or familiar works
- Keeping up with timely appointments
- Managing their finances
- Recalling familiar places or people
- Makeing sure they take their medications
- Doing familiar day-to-day tasks
- Organising or planning any event
We have compiled some tips on how to support them, while maintaining their sense of dignity and independence.
Make a schedule
Establishing a timetable or a consistent routine can make each day less confusing, lowering their levels of frustration. Patients with memory loss can still learn to follow routines. The types of tasks that can be scheduled in advance include medical appointments, showering, walks, when the person is most alert and refreshed. If you are planning any spontaneous activities such as a birthday party, allow flexibility within the routine.
Patients can take take longer than usual to do trivial tasks. Also, make sure you allow time for frequent breaks. Don’t hurry him or her. Provide enough choice for everyday tasks, although fewer options are generally better. For instance, if the patient is thirsty, give them a choice of hot or cold beverages and maybe a few options of each, rather than assuming they want a cup of tea.
Try to use simple and clear, one-step communication as it makes it easier for the patient to understand. Also, reduce distractions like a television or music players during conversation. This will make it easier for the Alzheimer’s patient to focus. It is also best to let them do activities without assisting them much. Try to use visual cues to let them do tasks fairly independently.
Caregiving becomes a bigger commitment, over time. Alzheimer’s patients eventually require round-the-clock care. It is understandable that you may have your own responsibilities, job or health issues. Therefore, it is essential to communicate effectively to meet the needs of the patient and support yourself to meet those needs.