Caring for Alzheimer’s Patient
He takes the bike himself to the beach and asks people who got it there? He bends down from the fourth floor balcony and yells at children playing in the park. I am so tired of being around him all the time,” complained my friend,frustrated, stressed out and irritated.
Are you thinking my friend is describing some tantrums thrown by a child? Well no, this is an unusually changed behavior of a 70 something man.
Felix is an intelligent and highly qualified person who spent more than 40 years of his life building up the family business. He did achieve great success in career, but failed to live a healthy life. Mind that is under constant work pressure, busy schedules allowing little or no time for exercise, smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy food, all of which eventually started taking a toll on his health. Are these the risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)?
Today, he cannot remember some of the incidences that happened few hours ago. He calls his sister by some other name and cannot understand where to sign on his credit card bill. Are these the symptoms of AD? The family is having a difficult time accepting the fact that he is suffering from AD.
People suffering from AD often tend to have difficulties remembering things and also lose their ability to think. Those in the severe stage of the disease are totally dependent on others for simple activities of daily living (ADL). Dealing with and caring for someone with AD is difficult and stressful. However, love and support from family and loved ones can help them live a better, if not an absolutely normal life.
Let’s look at some practical problems you may face as a caregiver, and their solutions. The tips given here will be helpful while you continue to look after your loved one who is suffering from AD.
A practical problem you may face
|Solution for your problem|
|They call you by some other name||Don’t try to correct them. Rather, stay calm and listen to what they say|
|They don’t recognize their own children||Try to show pictures and remind them of their loved ones|
|They stammer and take long time to recollect a word||Be patient and give time. Do not speak to them in hurry|
They get aggressive when you decide to give a bath
Plan to give a bath when the person is calm and non-aggressive. Keep talking to the person explaining what you are doing
|They spill the food while eating from a plate||Use bowl as they are easier to handle|
|They stay awake till late night||Create a quiet and pleasant atmosphere in the evening|
|You feel completely helpless||
Reach out to some support groups and you may meet people with like situations
Ask for help from your friends and other family members
|You feel that care giving is becoming really challenging and you cannot handle it anymore||Take assistance from external support groups or move the patient to a long-term care facility|
Caring for your loved one with AD is not an easy task. You need to be patient and strong, as the person may slowly start getting totally dependent on you. The worry, fear, loneliness, and exhaustion may put you at stress and risk of suffering from depression. It is therefore important to educate yourself about the disease, its progression, symptoms, and treatment options, so that you get prepared for the new responsibilities that keep adding with each passing day.
Empowering you to care for your loved ones
ICMH Editorial team
- Caregiver Guide: Tips for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer's Disease. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/caregiver-guide-tips-careg.... Accessed October 23, 2013.
- Support for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers. http://www.helpguide.org/elder/alzheimers_disease_dementia_support_careg.... Accessed October 23, 2013.