Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease
Whether you are a family member or caregiver, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease can be challenging. It is important that you understand a little bit about both the individual and the disease progression. In this article I will cover a short overview of how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Determining Level of Care
Alzheimer’s Disease is classified into three different stages:
- Mild Alzheimer’s Disease (early)
- Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
- Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
The level of care that you provide as a caregiver depends on the severity of the disease. During the mild stage of Alzheimer’s, assume that the individual can still complete the tasks they perform on a regular basis. Be sure that the individual is safe to independently complete the activity. Provide encouragement to them and try to help them when they need help rather than providing complete assistance. Ask the individual what tasks they are struggling with and how you can best be of assistance.
As the disease progresses, the individual will require increasing assistance with simple tasks. They may experience changes in mood or behavior. Give simple directions in a gentle tone to facilitate a calm environment. This can be especially helpful if individuals become frustrated with their declining health.
In the final stage of Alzheimer’s, individuals will need help with all activities of daily living. Caregivers will help with feeding, bathing, toileting, dressing, and more. The individual may have issues with mobility and be confined to a wheelchair at this point. Try to provide good quality of life to the patient by playing their favorite music, taking them outside if possible, and facilitating them being involved or present during activities they enjoy.
Although caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease can difficult. It can also be some of the most honorable and rewarding work. As the disease progresses the caregiver becomes the rock that the person with Alzheimer’s leans on. The care and comfort you give will and does make a difference.