Alzheimer’s is a neurological condition that can lead to cognitive decline and subsequently dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that around 6.2 million people in the US have Alzheimer’s. That number grows to 47 million worldwide, with estimates claiming that number could reach 76 million by the end of the decade.
To raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and show support for those with it and the caregivers that help them, Alzheimer’s Association declares every June to be Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
To do our part this month, we at VMT Home Health wanted to share several tips caregivers should keep in mind when caring for patients with Alzheimer’s.
1. Create a Safe Environment
Dementia can reduce problem-solving skills and impair judgment, making falls and other injuries a more significant threat to the patient’s well-being.
Make sure you create a safe environment for the patient. Here are some ways to do so:
- Keep floors clear of cords and clutter that may trip the patient
- Make sure handrails are installed in particular areas, such as stairways
- Take precautions for fires — make sure smoke detectors all work, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and keep matches and lighters out of the patient’s reach
2. Design a Structured Routine
Cognitive decline is extremely stressful for those experiencing it. Anything you can do to reduce that stress and anxiety helps — and one of the best ways to do so is to have them follow a daily routine.
Structuring the day reduces uncertainties that someone with dementia has a tough time dealing with. It offers comfort and familiarity and helps them maintain a sense of independence since they feel more in control of the day.
Additionally, having them follow this routine over time can help build habits if you start early enough in the disease’s progression. The routine will transfer to their long-term memory (less affected by dementia), making everything easier for both of you.
3. Avoid Arguing
Remember that dementia alters how the brain works. They may say something that you know is false, but to them, they firmly believe it to be true. Logic won’t persuade them, either, because of this.
Arguing may only embarrass them unnecessarily, or even make them frustrated and angry.
As long as the false statement they make doesn’t lead anyone to harm, it’s not worth it to try and correct them.
4. Personalize Their Care
Ultimately, every person is different — and every person may experience the progression of Alzheimer’s in a different way.
Therefore, you should tailor care to your loved one’s needs.
Alternatively, you can rely on the trained professionals at VMT Home Health. We customize care to your loved one’s needs to increase their quality of life and help them enjoy every day. Contact us today to learn more.