Alzheimer’s is a disease that progressively destroys one’s brain cells, affecting an individual’s memory, thoughts, and behaviors. CDC or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that Alzheimer’s disease had affected roughly 5.7 million adults living in the United States alone in 2016.
Many people who have Alzheimer’s are given daily assistance and care from their family members, partners, or close friends. The CDCT states that 32% of caregivers of those with dementia have provided and are still providing care for five years and up.
Today, we discuss the four (4) A’s about Alzheimer’s Disease and help people care for someone with it.
1. Alzheimer’s – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The first A on the list is ‘Acknowledgement,’ or knowing what this disease is and does. Proper knowledge about Alzheimer’s will help us move forward in helping and caring for those who suffer from it.
Alzheimer’s has symptoms that get worse as it progresses, bringing new challenges for caregivers. When we acknowledge, we understand the disease and the stages of Alzheimer’s, along with associated symptoms, which can help people plan.
Alzheimer’s disease has three stages: mild, moderate, and severe.
How Alzheimer’s progress can affect the amount of care, a person needs.
People with mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease can still function independently. They can continuously participate in professional and social activities.
During this stage, people may find it difficult to concentrate or remember recent events. They may have tendencies of forgetting certain words or names. In addition, writing and problem-solving are a few of the other early signs of Alzheimer’s.
Moderate Alzheimer’s disease includes significant loss of memory, confusion, and physical symptoms.
People at this stage have tendencies of exhibiting the following symptoms:
- Having a hard time recognizing family members and close friends
- Organizing or following instructions can be challenging
- Performing daily tasks, such as getting dressed, can already be a burden
- Problems in falling asleep and restlessness
- Wandering around or getting lost
- Incontinence in urinary or fecal disposal
- Changes in personality
Those in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease need help with almost all aspects of their daily lives – from basic activities like sitting up, walking, eating, down to even bodily functions and procedures like natural disposal of waste materials.
During this stage, people tend to lose their ability to engage in conversation. They may also have difficulties in chewing or swallowing their food.
Many people with severe Alzheimer’s start to become unaware of their environment and no longer recognize their family members.
Next A on the list is ‘Attention.’ After we have acknowledged all the information there is to know about Alzheimer’s, it’s now time to give our utmost attention to helping and caring for those who suffer from this disease. Here are some activities we can do to promote our undivided attention for the person who has Alzheimer’s:
- Create a daily routine. Caregivers can make someone feel a bit comfortable using an established and constant daily practice. Doing this step can reinforce that sense of familiarity in the person who has Alzheimer’s.
- Plan engaging activities. Engaging in planned activities, like listening to music, can help stimulate a person with Alzheimer’s to be focused and attentive. Caregivers can keep their loved ones engaged – active and focused – with the following daily activities:
- Baking and cooking
- Exercises, such as walking, stretching, and lightweight training
- Going to a favorite park, museum, or restaurant
- Household chores, such as folding laundry and gardening
- Listening to music
- Playing a simple board game
- Visiting friends and family
- Watching a movie
- Promote ongoing communication. Alzheimer’s disease can significantly be impactful, especially to a person’s communication abilities towards other people. Difficulty interpreting or remembering specific words and frequently losing their train of thought in the middle of a sentence can be inabilities. Caregivers can use the following strategies to make communication between them and the one they’re caring for easier:
- Smile while maintaining eye contact.
- Only ask one question at a time.
- Call the other person on a first-name basis.
- Have an open and relaxed body language.
- Speak using a soft, calming voice, but not baby talking or oversimplifying
- Try to keep calm and stay poised during random angry outbursts.
The next A involves our ‘Attitude’ towards the person with Alzheimer’s. Our ability to address specific situations with our attitude can significantly contribute to caring for these people. A positive attitude towards everything is a great start. We can continue to promote this positivity, especially for the person with Alzheimer’s we are caring for by:
Boosting their self-esteem. Being confident can stem from looking and feeling good. This mindset can alleviate some anxieties caused by Alzheimer’s, allowing a person to feel “more like themselves.” Some ways caregivers can assist someone in terms of hygiene and grooming include:
- brushing their teeth
- encouraging them to shave if they usually do, helping them when necessary
- keeping their nails trimmed
- helping to decide and lay down outfits how a person puts them on sequentially
- buying them loose, comfortable clothing
Keeping them safe. Many everyday situations can contribute to a person with Alzheimer’s feeling unsafe or putting them in danger. Signs such as “wet floor” may not be easy for them to understand. Even stepping over one type of flooring to another can be confusing. Some safety tips caregivers can observe are the following:
• ensuring they have shoes sturdy and comfortable
• placing brightly colored markings on the edge of steps
• putting pads on any sharp furniture corners
• having limited mirrors in the house
• putting “hot” and “cold” stickers near taps
• lowering the boiler temperature to avoid burns
• placing safety locks on the stove
• ensuring they correctly take their medications
Last but not least, the fourth A is ‘Affection.’ to provide them help and care, we show our affection towards people with Alzheimer’s like how we would with any other people special to us.
With practical and thorough training, caregivers can provide only high-quality care inside their patient’s homes. Keeping them in a familiar and comfortable environment has consistently been shown to significantly reduce caregiver burden, decrease falling risk, and increase engagement and participation through daily tasks. This ability also takes the load off of the loved ones, allowing for better longevity and outcomes. This ability in tailoring needs to meet you, and your loved one’s situation can significantly assist in various days and hours, easing the load on the whole family.
Final Thoughts – Alzheimer’s
There are a lot of ways to help people manage the effects of Alzheimer’s. Through the four (4) As – Acknowledgement, Attention, Attitude, and Affection – we can become the best versions of the help and care people with this disease deserve to have in their lives. We can help alleviate the effects of Alzheimer’s simply with these mindsets.
Want to become part of the love and support for Alzheimer’s? Our great friends from Nova Home Health Care can help you with any concern you or your loved ones might have about Alzheimer’s Disease. Visit them today! http://novahhc.com/