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Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s, What you Should Know – Greensboro, NC

- Monday, March 10, 2014

Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s memory, cognition and ability to reason. People with Alzheimer’s disease can also become listless, agitated, stubborn, depressed, anxious and even violent. Furthermore, they may suffer from hallucinations – experienced as pleasant and/or frightening.

In the later stages of the disease, Alzheimer’s patients need full-time care and supervision, as they aren’t able to perform even relatively simple tasks, such as taking a bath, dressing, shopping, cooking or using the phone.

Are you caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease? The tips below will help you with what can be a challenging journey. Just remember that each person with Alzheimer’s is unique, which means that the tips given here may not work for everyone.

Tips for caregivers:

  • If the person becomes angry or present with combative behavior, give them space by leaving the room. Only return when they have calmed down.
  • Don’t try to argue. People with Alzheimer’s disease do not have the same ability to reason.
  • Allow strange behavior if it doesn’t affect others. It’s their way to make sense of their “new” environment among “new” people. Typical behavior may include repeatedly packing and unpacking a suitcase, sorting out a wardrobe, or hiding a handbag under the bed. Always ask yourself, “Does it matter?”
  • Be aware that strange behavior could be their way of telling you, the carer, that something is wrong. The person might suddenly shout, hit something, swear, cry or laugh out loudly. Try to work out what is wrong, respond to possible emotions they’re feeling at the time of the incident, and then try to distract them.
  • If you can determine what triggers these reactions, you can try to prevent it or keep the person calm when the trigger occurs. This can be anything – from a hallucination to being thirsty or wanting to go to the toilet.
  • People with Alzheimer’s disease often get agitated because they struggle to complete simple tasks. When you show or tell them how to do something, it’s important that you relay the steps one by one, allowing enough time between each step for the person to absorb the information. Be patient!
  • Don’t give the patient too many choices. Rather ask, “Do you want to wear this dress?” instead of “Which dress would you like to wear?”
  • Don’t change familiar routines.

For more information on Alzheimer’s Care, please contact Spring Arbor.

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