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How to Care for a Parent With Alzheimer’s

How to Care for a Parent With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer is a devastating disease, not just for the patient, but also for their family members. It is characterized by a steady decline in physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities. It is thought to affect an estimated 5.2 million Americans and causes problems with disorientation, thinking ability, problem-solving, and memory loss.

While these symptoms are normally mild to start with, they do get worse as time goes on and will eventually interfere with daily life. When you become your parent’s caregiver, it is a serious, long-term commitment. While the life expectancy for someone with Alzheimer’s will depend on the age at diagnosis, many go on to live ten or more years, so there is a lot to prepare for.

How it interferes with daily life

While there are common symptoms, it is important to remember that the disease will affect everyone differently. For most, the earliest symptom is memory lapses, such as having difficulty learning new information or remembering recent events.

As the disease progresses, it can begin to affect the person’s daily life as they may:

Forget appointments
Lose items around the house (such as glasses, keys)
Get lost on a familiar journey or place
Forget about recent events or conversations
Forget people’s names or struggle to find the right words in a conversation

They may go on to develop difficulties with language, making decisions, carrying out a sequence of tasks (such as cooking a meal), losing track of time, and visuospatial skills.

Sleep issues and sundowning are also common with Alzheimer’s patients, which can mean nighttime restlessness, increased confusion and agitation, and disorientation due to the inability to separate dreams from reality.

In the later stages, they may need help with eating or walking and may become much less aware of what is happening around them. They will eventually become increasingly frail and require assistance with their daily activities. These changes can have a devastating impact on those close to the patient, as much as the patient.

How you can help

If you become a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, then it is important to start preparations early. Since the disease causes changes in the brain and body that may affect safety, you will need to adapt the home environment to support these changes. It’s about creating an environment that is both safe and comfortable.

Assess your home:

Take a look around your home and try to identify objects that could cause injury and possible areas of danger. You may need to lock hazardous areas, or even disguise entrances by covering doors and locks to restrict access.

Walkways should be kept well lit, particularly in the evenings. Consider adding extra lights to stairways, entries, hallways and bathrooms. This will help to reduce disorientation and prevent accidents.

You should also make the effort to remove tripping hazards. That means keeping floors clutter-free and removing objects that could get in the way, such as coffee tables, magazine racks or floor lamps.

Install motion sensors:

Patients can easily become disoriented, and this can be particularly problematic at nighttime. You can install motion sensors to alert you anytime your parent tries to leave their bedroom or even their bed. This will give you enough time to check on them and can help to reduce the risk of accidents and falls.

Consider bed safety:

If your parent has a history of falls, it is important that you take the necessary precautions to prepare for the possibility of another fall. It is quite common for patients to experience difficulties when getting in or out of bed.

Nursing home beds are specially designed to not only provide comfort for elderly patients but also to reduce the risk of falls*. Rails can help prevent falls, and beds with a low position will mean that if they do fall, the distance is short.

Bathroom safety:

Accidents can easily happen in the bathroom, due to slippery surfaces. Address this by placing grab bars and nonskid strips or a mat in the shower and bathtub, as well as on the floor. Consider removing door locks to prevent your parent from accidentally locking themselves in and so you can easily reach them if an accident were to occur.

Prepare yourself for emergencies:

Ensure you have working safety devices, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. You should also keep a list of emergency phone numbers close to hand in the case of an emergency.

 

Resource:

*http://acutehealthcare.com.au

The post How to Care for a Parent With Alzheimer’s appeared first on NaturalNews Blogs.

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Updated: March 30, 2016 — 3:00 am

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