If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may be able to provide care in the comfort of your home. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, any additional health issues they have, and the safety of your home, you can provide safe, comfortable Alzheimer’s care for your loved one.
You can also consult with and obtain recurring or occasional in-home care services from an Alzheimer’s care or memory care agency. Take a look at our tips for providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in your home.
Create a Daily Routine
People with Alzheimer’s benefit from a reliable, reassuring daily routine. Establishing a routine will also help you develop good time management skills and prioritize your daily tasks. You should start by evaluating your loved one’s daily mood and behavioral patterns. You can schedule certain daily activities based on your loved one’s level of lucidity or clarity throughout the day.
Your loved one’s abilities, preferences, and cooperation may vary from day to day or even hour to hour, so your daily routine is a jumping off point and may need to be adapted as needed.
Develop Skills for Communicating With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s
A person with Alzheimer’s may communicate differently than they did in the past. You may have to re-learn your communication methods and skills to improve your ability to interact with your loved one. Maintaining clear communication will reduce the risk of your loved one feeling misunderstood, frustrated, or isolated. You can improve your communication by:
- Using simple words and short sentences
- Speaking in a gentle, calm tone of voice
- Acting respectful
- Not talking about them as if they aren’t there
- Reducing background noise and distractions while speaking
- Giving them enough time to respond and not interrupting
- Trying to find nonverbal cues to determine what they are saying rather than asking them to repeat themselves
- Offering choices or suggestions rather than asking open-ended questions
Modify Daily Living Activities
Activities of daily living are personal care activities that are completed every day. These activities include bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and eating. Most people can complete these activities on their own, but may have difficulty as they age. Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other physical and mental health conditions can affect a person’s ability to keep up with the activities of daily living.
As you spend more and more time with your loved one, you will get a sense of which activities they can complete independently, which ones they forget about, and which ones they need assistance with. You can modify or adapt the steps of each activity to offer your loved one support and assistance without compromising their integrity.
People with Alzheimer’s or dementia are at a higher risk of feelings of isolation and depression. You can reduce your loved one’s risk of developing these conditions by encouraging socialization and engagement in the world. Look for local support groups that offer assistance for people with Alzheimer’s.
Review your loved one’s skills and interests and provide guidance, transportation, and companionship at community events that might interest your loved one. Consider events like craft groups, movies, meals with family and friends, and other activities your loved one can still take part in without becoming frustrated or depressed.
Create Memory Care Activities
Memory care is a crucial part of Alzheimer’s care. Dementia care can slow the progression of dementia and strengthen your loved one’s cognitive abilities. When researching and developing memory care activities for your loved one, you should find ones that fit into your loved one’s existing interests, skills, and abilities. Follow these tips for creating successful memory care activities:
- Break activities down into small, easy to manage steps
- Be on the lookout for signs of frustration or agitation
- Redirect their attention if they become irritated
- Include them in the entire process
- Focus on maintaining existing skills rather than teaching new ones
Prepare for Behavioral Changes Associated With Alzheimer’s
As your loved one’s Alzheimer’s progresses, their abilities and behavior will change. Sometimes this happens gradually, and sometimes it can seem to occur overnight. Some behavior issues come and go, while others are permanent. Be aware of the behavioral changes to come, and learn how to manage them:
- Sundowning – Sundowning and sleep problems are very common in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Sundowning is a behavioral pattern that typically shows up in later afternoons and evenings. Your loved one may become restless, agitated, irritable, combative, and even violent or aggressive. You can try to reduce the symptoms of sundowning by encouraging exercise early in the day, limiting naps later in the day, making evenings more peaceful, and keeping the home well-lit in the evenings.
- Hallucinations – Your loved one may develop hallucinations and delusions as their disease progresses. In some cases, hallucinations and delusions might be a symptom of an underlying disease or illness, like a UTI. You shouldn’t argue with your loved one if they indicate they are seeing, hearing, or experiencing something that isn’t real. Validate their feelings and reassure them. Avoid watching disturbing content and make sure your loved one doesn’t have access to anything dangerous.
- Wandering – Many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia tend to wander away from home, sometimes for hours and miles. You can reduce the risk of your loved one becoming injured or lost while wandering by installing security cameras and an alarm system, putting child-safety locks on gates and doors, and researching monitoring devices that track your loved one’s movements. You should also notify your neighbors and local law enforcement of your loved one’s wandering.
Schedule a Home Safety Evaluation
In order to care for your loved one at home, or even if you plan on using an in-home care agency or Alzheimer’s care agency, you must make sure your home is safe. A home safety evaluation is a comprehensive review of every area of your home’s interior and exterior.
During this evaluation, the evaluator will look for areas that might be dangerous or become dangerous to someone with Alzheimer’s. They will then make professional recommendations for improving the safety of your home, and can even refer you to a company that specializes in making safety renovations.
Know When to Hire In-Home Care or Seek Assisted Living Placement
In order to avoid caregiver burnout and preserve your physical, emotional, and mental health, you need to share caregiving duties with someone else. That could include other family members, friends, or an in-home care agency. Choose an in-home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s care or memory care services.
You can schedule recurring in-home care services, or request services occasionally, when you need a break for self-care or to handle other matters. Alzheimer’s and dementia care is challenging, demanding, and overwhelming. You must prioritize your own health and wellness to ensure you remain a strong caregiver for your loved one.
Get Assistance With Alzheimer’s Care in Southern Arizona
If caring for your loved one has become too overwhelming, expensive, or dangerous for you to manage on your own, our team at Placita In Home Care can help. We specialize in in-home Alzheimer’s care and dementia care as well as comprehensive senior care services.
We also offer free in-home safety evaluations and assisted living Alzheimer’s care placement services. To schedule a consultation for in-home care or Alzheimer’s care in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.