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Home Alzheimer's Care Essentials






     When in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, it is possible for someone to function and live independently -- but that will not last long. As the disease takes hold, their life management skills will deteriorate -- which will necessitate some kind of elder care treatment plan. Here are some useful tips for helping care for a loved one in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, so they can stay at home as long as possible.

Simplify

One of the most common complaints of Alzheimer's sufferers is that everyday tasks become difficult or impossible. There are a few ways to consider simplifying to keep their lives orderly:

Schedule

Put together a routine that they can follow every day. Predictability is the goal. Schedule the most difficult tasks -- bathing, most commonly -- at the time of the day when they tend to be at their most calm. Allow more time for everything than it actually needs, because as Alzheimer's progresses, things take more time. You want to keep the schedule unchanged for as long as possible, so make it in a way that will still be functional (to the best of your ability) a year from now.

Limit Options

"Analysis paralysis" is a commonplace enough term in the business world, but for people with Alzheimer's, it's a literally everyday phenomenon. The more options they have, the more difficult it becomes to decide. In clothing, for example, provide two options and zero accessories. For mealtime, give a choice of 2 main dishes and 2 out of 3 possible sides.

Reduce Distractions

Turn off the TV, radio, and mobile devices. Keep the environment quiet and clean. Give them every opportunity to focus on the task at hand.

Simplification is probably the single best thing you can do to keep an Alzheimer's victim in your home -- but it's hardly the only thing.

Stay Flexible

At the same time that you're creating a dependable schedule for the person you're caring for, you can't allow it to dictate your life. Things will go wrong, and when they do, it's up to you to be flexible and adapt on the fly as needed. One common complaint among Alzheimer's victims is that a food they used to love suddenly becomes unappealing: that's OK. Have a back-up plan just in case. They might also suddenly insist on wearing the same clothes every day: go buy a few duplicates and switch them out at bathtime or overnight.

Focus on Safety

One of the most significant side-effects of Alzheimer's disease is the loss of executive function -- in other words, the inability to make decisions and solve problems. This increases dramatically someone's ability to avoid injury, as even if they're aware that a situation is unsafe, they may well decide to attempt to navigate it anyway. By going out of your way to prevent falls, lock medicine and gun cabinets, and keep dangerous substances from lighters to cleansers out of reach, you can prevent a good number of Alzheimer's-related incidents.

Share Responsibility

Every family member has their own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences when it comes to providing elder care for their Alzheimer's-stricken loved one. Remember that every person in the family is affected by the victim, and that every member can and does provide some important function in the house. Don't think that just because your daughter doesn't help you bathe your dad, she's not providing useful services like shopping for household goods or cleaning the kitchen. Give everyone the credit they deserve, but don't be afraid to ask for a temporary change in roles if someone needs a break.




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Posted on 2013-07-13, By: *

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