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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care: Help for Family Caregivers
Once your parents reach a certain age, it can be a challenge to figure out how to provide the best care for them. Especially for those who are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or any other such progressive conditions.
In India, more than 4 million people are estimated to be suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, giving the country the third highest caseload of elderly progressive conditions in the world. Most often than not, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s go undiagnosed as they are viewed as common old-age symptoms. Early identification and timely intervention are needed to manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s better.
At this point, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, and there are no particular medications that will stop the disease in its tracks. The best course of action is to provide an environment where their needs can be taken care of and where there is less danger of risks. An elder care home can provide the kind of therapy, medication, activities and personalized attention that a patient needs at advanced stages. It can also help reduce the emotional and physical toll that it takes on the person battling Alzheimer’s or family members who have to be available 24X7.
However, if you decide to care for your elderly parents or grandparents with Alzheimer's at home, here is a guide to help you provide the best care possible.
A Caregiver's Guide for Alzheimer's Patients
Learn about Alzheimer's disease
Understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s and its associated symptoms will help you plan. The problem arises when uncertainty hits, but if you are prepared beforehand, it can help in better management of the disease.
Create their daily routine and plan activities
This will help them build a sense of familiarity that they are being cared for. Plan out their indoor and outdoor activities so that they can cope with the loneliness that may come with staying indoors.
Be open to communication
Alzheimer’s can significantly impact your parent's ability to communicate with others. They may have difficulty interpreting or remembering things. Help them express themselves using different ways of communication such as memory cards, signs, body language, etc.
Ensure a nutritious diet
It is important to understand their dietary needs and prepare meal plans accordingly. Ask their healthcare provider about the right diet that can help them stay healthy.
Keep them safe
Everyday situations can be hard for Alzheimer's patients. They may not distinguish between what is dangerous for them and put themselves at risk. They may not understand signs such as wet floors or stepping stairs, etc.
Ask a healthcare professional
Alzheimer patients experience physical and emotional changes, and over time, their memories disappear or skills erode. Their health calls for continuous 24-hour support and care from qualified professionals. Further, as the condition reaches the advanced stages, they may not be able to walk or handle any personal care, become vulnerable to infections, hallucinations, incontinence, not eat on their own, experience mood swings, etc. In your role as a caregiver, you will likely have to manage all this. Hence seeking professional help on how to care for a parent with Alzheimer's is essential.
Other types of Care Options Available
It may become tough for you to manage the needs of your parents with Alzheimer’s all by yourself. You can always receive assistance from professional caregivers. There is a gamut of services to offer caregiving services for Alzheimer's patients. Depending upon the patient's health and the care they need, you can choose from homecare services and professional nursing centers.
In-home care includes a wide range of services provided in the home, rather than in a hospital or care facility. In the advanced stages, because of degenerative health conditions associated such as reduced mobility, it is good to pick an in-home care service. You can avail the best treatment from the comfort of your own home.
Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may not be easy for you to provide the right care for your loved one alone especially if they need assistance with the routine activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating.
In such cases, it is better to move to a care facility such as nursing or elder home care that is equipped with custodial and medical care for people with Alzheimer's. The right service not only offers a familiar and monitored environment but also compassionate and trustworthy caregivers to offer the best quality care to your parents.
Adult Day Care Centers
These centers offer a planned program of activities in a safe and professional environment, especially for elders with progressive conditions like Alzheimer’s. Based on the level of care needed, the services at Adult Day Care Centers vary. The central focus, however, is to focus on social and recreational services while offering comprehensive care in the form of physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
Tips for Communicating With an Alzheimer’s Patient
Communicating with a parent diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. As the condition progresses, they may find it difficult to understand, remember, or even reciprocate thoughts and feelings. Hence being patient, having good listening skills, and more can go a long way in maintaining an open line of communication. Here are a few tips to help:
- Be patient- Take the time to actively listen and offer time to the person as they communicate.
- Learn to interpret their thoughts- Make an effort to understand what is being said in the given context as it is quite common for elders to struggle with reciprocating their thoughts and feelings.
- Stay connected- this can look like making eye contact, holding their hands consensually, and referring to them with their names.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues- Keep your body relaxed and be aware of theirs.
- Offer support- Provide subtle encouragements that allow them to communicate in difficult scenarios.
- Avoid distractions- Limit visual distractions to actively listen to them.
- Keep it simple- Use short sentences, ask simple questions that only require a yes or no response, and break down instructions into simple steps.
Seek Best Alzheimer's Treatments for Elderly Parents
If you are looking for Alzheimer's management for the elderly, let Cadabams lend a helping hand. We, at Cadabams, offer a comprehensive treatment approach to people suffering from Alzheimer's and assist their caregivers.
We offer physical and cognitive rehabilitation for better management and steady recovery. Our compassionate caregivers assist families in dealing with stressful situations that may arise due to their loved one’s health conditions. Further, the team of family therapists ensures that the caregiver’s needs are also met and equip them to aid in their loved one's recovery journey.
At Cadabam’s Hospital, a dedicated team of qualified psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and certified healthcare professionals provide a diverse range of inpatient and outpatient services. Our priority is to deliver safe and effective treatments while maintaining strict confidentiality.
We take pride in offering personalized and holistic care to each patient, starting from symptom management and extending to aftercare. With 24/7 medical support, customized diet plans, exercise regimens, and other supportive measures, we create a nurturing environment to promote overall physical and mental well-being.
What does Alzheimer's do to the elderly?
Alzheimer's disease affects the elderly by causing memory loss, cognitive decline, disorientation, behavioral changes, functional decline, wandering, loss of independence, and physical decline. Each person's experience may vary.
What is the best care for someone with Alzheimer's?
Our experts recommend these practices to ensure the best care for someone with Alzheimer’s-
- Early diagnosis and treatment
- Fixed daily routine
- Social engagement
- Balanced diet
- Physical engagement
- Cognitive stimulation
- Caregiver support
How can I help my elderly with Alzheimer's?
To help a person with Alzheimer’s, here are a few practices to keep in mind-
- Establish a consistent routine
- Simplify communication
- Break down instructions or tasks into small steps
- Ensure their safety at home
- Engage in cognitive activities
- Offer emotional support
- Provide a balanced diet
- Stay informed about the condition
How do you keep Alzheimer's patients safe at home?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure an Alzheimer’s patient’s safety-
- Install locks on doors and windows
- Eliminate clutter and hazardous objects
- Organise and monitor medications
- Implement a fixed routine
- Supervise personal care
- Ensure adequate lighting
I’m new to caregiving, from where I should start?
Caregiving can be overwhelming, especially when you are starting. First, work on the needs of your parents. Look for resources such as home health care or adult day care centers. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional, it’ll equip you better.
What are the suggestions for caregivers of Alzheimer's parents?
Being a caregiver you have to be patient and flexible. Your role expands as the disease progresses. Take help from your family and friends, this will help deal with the challenges and frustrations that may accompany in the later stages. Seeking medical assistance will help with caregiving.
At what stage do Alzheimer's patients need 24-hour care?
There may come a time when Alzheimer's patients need more care than what is being given at home. This primarily happens in the middle stages of Alzheimer when supervision is required to keep the person safe.
What are the 7 stages of Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer’s typically progresses through 7 stages which include-
- No impairment
- Very mild cognitive decline
- Mild cognitive decline
- Moderate cognitive decline
- Moderately severe cognitive decline
- Severe cognitive decline
- Very severe cognitive decline