While caring for an aging loved one can be very rewarding, it can also be very challenging – especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
“For those who have never cared for a family member or friend with the disease, it can be overwhelming,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at Trail Ridge Home Care’s partner, the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “With Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, there are many questions, but few answers. There’s a lot of uncertainty – so many unknowns. It can be very scary.”
Because every person is different, every case is different. However, we do know that as the disease progresses, those who have dementia will likely need help with simple, every day care and tasks. To limit challenges and ease frustration, doctors at the recommend that caregivers:
Schedule wisely. Establish a daily routine. Some tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, are easier when the person is most alert and refreshed. Allow some flexibility for spontaneous activities or particularly difficult days.
Take your time. Anticipate that tasks may take longer than they used to, and schedule more time for them. Allow time for breaks during tasks.
Involve the person. Allow the person with dementia to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, he/she might be able to set the table with the help of visual cues or dress independently if you lay out clothes in the order they go on.
Provide choices. Provide some, but not too many, choices every day. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he/she prefers a hot or cold beverage or ask if he/she would rather go for a walk or see a movie.
Provide simple instructions. People with dementia best understand clear, one-step communications.
Limit Napping. Avoid multiple or prolonged naps during the day. This can minimize the risk of getting days and nights mixed up.
Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations. This will make it easier for the person with dementia to focus.
“Many of us at Trail Ridge HomeCare have personal experience with Alzheimer’s, so we understand the many challenges that come with the disease,” Goetz said. “We are committed to helping families better understand dementia and navigate their care journey.”
Trail Ridge Home Care’s professional caregivers are trained to provide exceptional care for those living with dementia – helping them remain safely in their homes for as long as possible, while giving family members a break and much needed peace of mind.
In addition to providing in-home care, our experienced team also offers Family & Friends Dementia Educationclasses – two hour sessions designed to help people better understand the stages of the disease and how they can overcome some of the challenges.
For more information about Alzheimer’s care services or to learn more about the Family and Friends Dementia Education class, visit trailridgehomecare.com or call 605-231-8141.