It takes plenty of understanding and patience to take care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. You’ll have to take on more daily tasks as the disease progresses, and it can be frustrating. Here are some tips on how to deal with tasks effectively.
Things that used to be easy may now be a challenge for someone with dementia. We can reduce those challenges with these steps:
- Clear Schedules
Daily routines are useful, especially when some activities like bathing or medical appointments require more alertness. Add in space for spontaneous activities on tough days.
- Take It Slow
Keep in mind that some tasks may take people with dementia more time.
Let them engage with the tasks as much as possible, with as little help as possible.
- Give Options
Give some, but not too many, options – two is ideal.
- Easy-to-Understand Instructions
Break down instructions into single steps.
- Cut Down on Naps
Get their circadian rhythm on track by avoiding naps during the day.
- Minimize Distractions
Make it easier for people with dementia to focus, by removing distractions during conversations.
Stay Open to Changes
Individuals with dementia get more dependent, so be aware that even daily routines might have to change. They might want to wear clothes of the same design daily or refuse to bathe.
Keep Them Safe
People with dementia are more at risk of injuries, so we need precautionary measures.
- Fall-Proof the Area
Remove clutter and any rugs or extension cords that may cause slips and falls. Add handrails or grab bars too.
- Install Locks
Lock up drawers and cupboards with any hazardous materials like medicine, alcohol, toxic cleaning substances, and dangerous utensils and tools.
- Monitor Water Temperature
Keep the hot-water heater at a lower temperature to avoid scalding.
- Maintain Fire Safety
Put away matches, lighters, and other flammable materials. Keep an eye on your loved ones if they smoke, and make sure fire extinguishers are easily accessible.
Take Note of Pain Symptoms
People with dementia may not always be able to report pain or ask for pain relief. We need to keep an eye on them and any symptoms that may arise. These include:
- Facial expressions: Frowns, grimaces, closed eyes, rapid blinking, and any distorted expressions
- Verbalizations/vocalizations: Sighing, grunting, groaning, loud breathing, asking for help
- Body movements: tense body posture, fidgeting, increased pacing
- Changes in interactions: More aggressive and combative, disruptive, withdrawn, anti-social
- Changes in routines: Change in appetite, change in sleep pattern
- Changes in mental states: Increased confusion, crying, irritability
Your loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia will require individualized care, depending on their symptoms and progression of the disease. Adjust these tips according to your loved ones in your care.
Remember, it’s crucial to be patient and flexible when handling loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be able to handle the challenges.