According to recent reports, approximately 6.5 million adults (age 65 and above) in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s. Nearly 73% of patients are above 75 or more. People diagnosed with this condition require daily assistance and care from their close family members or caregivers at a nursing home facility.
Without an appropriate guide, this could become pretty challenging. But you need not worry. We’ve got you covered. This article serves as a guide for people who have a senior parent suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Read on.
Learn About their Condition
The first and foremost step towards helping your senior parent is to learn about their medical condition. Alzheimer’s symptoms, especially behavior changes, tend to worsen as the disease progresses. It is likely to be hard to manage, especially for the caregiver.
Hence, it is imperative that you understand the different stages of Alzheimer’s and analyze at what stage your parent is. Majorly there are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease –
- Mild: Early stage of the disease- patients can perform everyday tasks independently. However, they may find concentrating difficult, especially when writing and recalling current events.
- Moderate: Patients experience memory loss, confusion, difficulty recognizing close friends and family, behavior changes, and other physical symptoms. Thus, they require frequent assistance.
- Severe: Most critical stage- patients need help with nearly everything- sitting, eating, walking. They fail to recognize their surrounding environment.
Offer them a Better & Safe Environment
Alzheimer’s disease leads to impaired judgments and poor problem-solving skills. That means you must be on your toes 24*7 to take utmost care of your senior parent. Of course, it is not possible to consistently look after your parents while managing your routine life.
That’s why people look for nursing homes and residential care facilities. These facilities offer a wide range of services, including medical supervision for seniors. From providing timely medications, and physical therapies to 24-hour supervision, these facilities are well-equipped to address every need.
Despite that, several cases of nursing home abuse are reported every year. The victims seek help from expert nursing home abuse attorneys for justice and compensation in cases of poor supervision, injuries, or even fatalities. That’s why it is important that you inspect the nursing homes before selecting one for your parent. Talk to the seniors residing there to better understand the facilities provided and the behavior of caregivers. If you notice any sign of poor management, you mustn’t ignore it.
Create a Proper Routine
Planning a daily routine plays a critical role in taking care of a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. It establishes a feeling of familiarity, helping in dealing with symptoms.
However, it does not mean that you need to schedule every hour of the day or introduce something entirely different. Doing so can confuse the patient, causing avoidable challenges. It can also confuse them, leading to chaos and misbehavior.
Bear in mind that those with Alzheimer’s are not comfortable with changes. They need significant time to adjust to a new environment and accept them. Therefore, you must introduce changes gradually and let them adjust properly before making a new change.
Some of the things or activities that you can include in their routine are:
- Cooking, listening to music, watching movies, and playing board games
- Exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, and stretches
- Visiting family and friends
Boost Their Self-esteem
The inability to recall something, confusing people, or not performing regular activities can affect the self-esteem of seniors. It might make them feel a part of an unfamiliar environment and cause behavior problems. It can also lead to anxiety, stress, or even depression.
That’s why it is important that you take steps to boost their self-esteem so they feel like themselves all over again. A few things that you can do to help them include:
- Join them when performing regular hygiene, such as brushing teeth or washing faces.
- Provide them extra time when getting dressed up or bathing, so they don’t feel rushed.
- Purchase loose or oversized clothing, so they feel comfortable moving around. (avoid clothes with laces or buttons, as it might confuse them)
Performing such small acts on their own, without your help, will make them feel good about themselves. It will encourage them to try everything and improve their behavior. Nevertheless, make sure to listen to them and guide them through the process. It will help keep the bond strong, making it easier for you to take care of them.
Taking a Quick Recap
Taking care of a senior with Alzheimer’s disease requires consistent effort and time. However, it need not be a hassle. Follow the tips discussed in this article to ensure the safety and well-being of your senior parent. It will further help you bond with them.