Alzheimer’s disease causes brain cells to die, which affects how the brain functions. The functioning of the brain determines how a person will act. The common changes that happen within the personality and the behaviour of a person includes getting upset, angry, or worried more easily, not showing interest in activities and acting depressed, hiding and imagining things that do not exist, exhibiting unusual behaviour, misunderstanding what other people say, and wandering away from home.
You may notice that the person stops caring how he or she looks and may even want to wear the same clothes every day. Other factors that can affect the behaviour of a person include fear, sadness, anxiety, confusion, stress, heart-related issues, lack of sleep, pain, and other physical issues like infections and problems in hearing, seeing, etc. If there are any issues where a person lives, that can also have an immense impact on mental behaviour. A lot of noise, such as radio, or television can frustrate a person and confuse one’s mind.
Handling these changes in the behaviour of those with Alzheimer’s can be taxing as their mood is never constant. It changes in a blink of an eye and you as a Alzheimer caregiver may fail to find a solution with their continued change in behaviour. So, to help you out, here are some of the steps you can follow to make caregiving for Alzheimer’s easy and comfortable.
- Keep conversations simple: It is hard for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s to understand things. So, you should say one thing at a time. Use short sentences and easy words to convey your message.
- Set a routine: The person cannot remember many things all at once, so to make your task easy, set a schedule. Follow the same schedule every day. Having a daily routine will make the person memorize the tasks to be done in a day. The person will know what to do and at what time. This will reduce your burden and give you some time to relax.
- Provide reassurance: The person with Alzheimer’s may often experience fear. So, as a caregiver, you must provide that confidence and give the reassurance that he or she is in safe hands and you are there to help them. This assurance of safety is not only necessary for the person suffering from illness but also for their family members.
- Focus on the feelings: Do not always just say things. Focus on the feelings of the person receiving care. For instance, say, you seem worried. What makes you anxious etc. This will make the person sure that someone is there for them all the time and that someone cares for their feelings.
- Never argue: Do not prove yourself right. If a person says that it is time to sleep, agree with what he or she says. Do not argue or prove your point, for they will get irritated. So, keep things easy for them. Do not complicate the matter by starting an argument.
- Do not show your frustration: If something about your client upsets you, do not show that in front of him or her. Try to hide your frustration and anger. Take deep breaths and just let the feeling go. If you think, it is safe, just leave the room, go for a walk for few minutes and then come back.
- Add humor in conversations: Try to keep the atmosphere light and healthy. Do not get serious and do not engage in serious talks. Add humour and laugh as much as you can. Laughing reduces stress and will make your client happy too.
- Take care of the nutrition: Take care of your client’s diet. Make a nutrition plan and follow it daily. Give your clients light snacks to eat every few hours so they do not lose weight. Keeping up with good health is of utmost importance.
- Dance and sing: Try to add music, dance, and singing to distract the person. Involve your client in these activities. Engaging in fun-loving activities will make your client feel light and happy. You will also feel less burdened so, try to incorporate such activities in the daily caregiving process.
- Engage your client in less hectic tasks: Ask your client to help you with little things. For example, say, let’s fold the clothes together, let’s set the dishes and table. Keep the client busy by allowing them to engage in such activities.
Apart from handling the changing moods and behavior of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, you need to put extra effort into creating a safe environment through caregiver management. For that, follow some of these steps.
- Get Smoke and fire detectors in or near the kitchen and in all the bedrooms
- Safety knobs and automatic shut off switches
- Childproof latches on the doors of the cabinet
- Be careful about the pets
- Reset your water heater to a fixed temperature
- Put caution signs in front of items like iron, oven, heater, toaster, etc
- Pad the sharp corners of the furniture
To prevent falls and any injury, simplify your home. Remove excess furniture. Get rid of large piles of newspapers, books, or magazines, if any. Add carpet on stairs and put a gate across them. If you see any spills, clean them up right away.
Good communication can make a world of difference in the life of a person with Alzheimer’s. Adapting to your loved one’s communication is the best way to handle people suffering from such a disease. Not forcing your loved ones to understand your way of communication is another best way to deal with the changing moods of Alzheimer’s.
Life with a person who has Alzheimer’s is no doubt difficult, but, it can become easier by adopting some practices and adhering to them daily.
Related blog posts:Helpful Tips to Communicate with the Elderly Who Have Dementia
Caring for the Elderly with Alzheimer’s