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Tips for living with someone with Alzheimer’s

November 29, 2016

Tips for living with someone with Alzheimer’s

Having someone you love get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be a hugely difficult period in anyone’s life. Even hearing the word Alzheimer being associated with a friend or family member can be really hard to accept and to know what you should do next can be daunting. Unfortunately, you’re relationship with them is going to eventually change, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to end. The disease will change them, but you need to change with the disease.

As someone with Alzheimer’s disease may gradually lose their ability to express words and follow conversations, you need to be able to adapt to these changes too. There can and will be many challenges when living with or trying to relate with someone who has Alzheimer’s, so here are some tips that I hope can help you with care of the elderly.

Communication

We’ve found that communication is one of the greatest hurdles to get over. This is something we all have to learn to get better at. Good communication can be key, sometimes you’re body language can say so much more than your words. Try to always be positive, use humour when possible and avoid getting into arguments – even when you know you’re right, just listen to them. This can be frustrating initially, but after a while it should become second nature, you just have to stay patient.

Make sure to have their attention before speaking to them, take away any distractions when trying to communicate, try to get their eye contact. This could mean turning off the TV, radio, close curtains etc…

Often, people with Alzheimer’s can be confused or easily agitated, try comforting them and reassuring them. As said previously, the relationship may be changing, but show affection, your kind and positive attitude can reflect onto them. Whether it’s Alzheimer’s, palliative care or whatever, everyone wants to feel loved.

Personality Changes

Your loved one may get upset, angry or agitated more often or more easily. They can often seem disinterested in things they once enjoyed or can sometimes become aggressive or abusive. Don’t take this personally, remember it’s the disease talking, not them! They may suffer from mood swings as Alzheimer’s disease causes brain cells to die, which will cause a change in personality.

One of the trickiest parts of dealing with these personality changes is realising that you need to change too. You can’t expect your loved one to change back, you will need to be able to adapt to these changes.

Start by keeping things simple, try making up a daily routine that’s easy for them to follow. Reassure them that they are safe and that they don’t have anything to worry about

If they’re being aggressive, try to distract them or take their mind off of it – music or dancing could work. You could also try completing a task together, cleaning the house or setting the table can take their mind off of whatever was bothering them.

Sleeplessness & Wandering

Alzheimer’s disease can cause sleeping problems and issues with people wandering and wanting to leave the house. It’s believed that restlessness and agitation can become a lot more common later on in the day for people with Alzheimer’s. There are steps and procedures you should adhere to ensure that they are safe at all times.

Plan more activities throughout the day, especially physical exercise. Perhaps you could create a daily schedule so that you can plan different activities for each day and following a routine may allow for a more restful sleep. It might be a good idea to have more nightlights throughout the house, also you could try placing a curtain above any entrances/exist to your house, keeping exists and entrances covered can deter them from trying to leave the home and obviously keep doors locked at night.

Incontinence

This is a very common occurrence amongst people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The loss of bladder or bowel control usually occurs later on in the progression of the disease.

One way to tackle this is to ensure that the person is keeping their bowels and urinary tract healthy. This can be done through a healthy, balanced diet, drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. If they are able, keep them mobile. Walking is very important to help with bowel movements

Another idea would be to make up a schedule of when the person should have an intake of fluid and to remind them of when they might need to use the bathroom. A supply of incontinence pads can be purchased from your local pharmacy and you may consider getting a commode for their bedroom.

These are just a few tips that we hope can help you, but everyone is different, everyone has different personalities, so what works for one may not work for another. If you are struggling, you can always look into home care options. Getting a care assistant in for a few hours a week may be of great help to you. One last tip I want to give is to keep a diary, keep track of things that make your loved one happy and the things that upset them. This is a good way to learn and remember the triggers for certain behaviours.

Our Alzheimers & Dementia Care staff harness their specialised training by engaging the client in activities designed to stimulate their mind and encourage greater interaction. To find out more about the type of care we can provide, call us now on 018338000.

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