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Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and symptoms often include memory loss, confusion and difficulty in communicating. It is important to provide care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s at home if possible.

When a loved one receives a diagnosis, their friends and family members can feel overwhelmed with emotions and questions about what the future holds. The worry can take a significant emotional and physical toll on everyone.

In this article, we’ll look at the unique challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home. We’ll offer practical tips on creating a safe and secure environment, effectively managing the behavioural intricacies associated with the condition, and fostering meaningful communication.

By focusing on these strategies, we’ll help you enhance the quality of life for both the individual with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease. It affects memory and thinking skills. Over time, it gets worse.

What are the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Some of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Memory loss: forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events.
  • Difficulty in planning or solving problems: trouble following a plan or working with numbers.
  • Trouble completing familiar tasks: difficulty driving to a familiar location, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a favourite game.
  • Confusion with time or place: losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: problems reading, judging distances and determining colour or contrast.
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing: trouble following or joining a conversation, stopping in the middle of a conversation, repeating themselves or struggling with vocabulary.
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: putting things in unusual places, losing things and accusing others of stealing.
  • Decreased or poor judgment: changes in judgment or decision-making, like giving away large amounts of money or paying less attention to grooming and cleanliness.
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities: pulling away from sports, social activities, work projects or hobbies.
  • Changes in mood and personality: becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, especially when out of their comfort zone.

People with Alzheimer’s might forget recent events or names of familiar people. They might get lost in familiar places, have trouble speaking, reading or writing or might misplace things.

As the disease gets worse, they may become anxious or aggressive. They might have trouble sleeping.

In later stages, they can have trouble eating or walking. This can make life hard for them and their families.

They may need help with daily tasks. This can affect their quality of life and independence.

If you live with, or care for, someone with Alzheimer’s, here are some of the things you can do to enhance their quality of life…

Fostering meaningful communication

For those living with Alzheimer’s, communication can become progressively more difficult. They might not be able to find the right words to describe how they feel or repeat the same words and questions many times. This can lead to frustration for both them and those around them.

Even when communication is challenging, involving an individual in conversations about their life and their care is important. Ask them how they’re feeling and if necessary, look for other non-verbal signs that might give clues about their emotional wellbeing. Empowering someone to have a say in their day-to-day life can help them retain a sense of independence and control. As their condition progresses, their input might decline or it might be necessary to adapt the types of questions asked.

Although it can be difficult, patience and understanding are vital in the caring journey. It can help to ask simple yes or no questions, rather than overwhelming an individual with too many options, and give them plenty of time to answer. If your loved one wants to talk about something special in their past, avoid asking them for too many details, listen carefully and allow them to enjoy their memories.

Creating a safe and secure environment

A stable home environment can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and enhance an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. When a person receives care at home, the familiarity of being around the things and people they love can play an important role in reducing worry and confusion.

Practical ways to help your loved one with Alzheimer’s might include using equipment such as automatic lights or safety knobs on ovens. Talk to healthcare professionals about which items would be most beneficial. Trip hazards should be removed, and personal items should be kept in the same places where they’re easy to find.

Stable everyday routines can help a person feel in control of their life and reduce anxiety. Aim to maintain the same times for meals and bedtime, perhaps allowing more time to eat or adapting the timings as the condition evolves.

Make sure plenty of reminders are set up for medication, personal care and the location of items such as keys or remote controls. Wall calendars or sticky notes can be placed at carefully chosen places around the house. Consider setting alerts on phones or smart speakers at key points throughout the day.

Effective home care for people with Alzheimer’s will enable them to remain involved in everyday tasks. This stability can prove very comforting. An individual can remain proud of the home they’ve worked hard to create and retain a sense of independence. When it’s safe and practical to do so, involve your loved one in cleaning, gardening or preparing meals, adapting their role as their health needs change.

Effectively managing the behavioural intricacies

As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals might experience significant changes to their everyday behaviour. This can include frustration, aggression and depression, which in turn can be very frustrating for their caregiver. This is often caused by a physical or emotional need that the individual is unable to express through language.

When your loved one is frustrated or angry, look at their situation to help understand what they might need. Perhaps it’s been some time since they ate? Are they in an unfamiliar environment which is making them feel anxious? Try to stay calm and patient as much as possible and look for support from others who know your loved one well.

Maintaining social connections will benefit their wellbeing and can also allow caregivers to take a break from the emotional and physical demands of looking after someone. Where possible, support your loved one to maintain skills and independence in activities they enjoy, for example watching sport, doing craft activities or going out for lunch. Ask your GP whether there are social clubs designed specifically for those living with Alzheimer’s.

Finally, don’t forget to manage your own emotional wellbeing as well as your loved one’s. Seek out Alzheimer’s support groups or networks for caregivers in the local area. As the condition progresses, consider using home care services to assist with personal care, jobs around the house and social activities.

How can Caremark help?

Caremark is an experienced and compassionate home care provider, offering a wide range of tailored services to suit individual needs.

If you’d like to talk about your loved one’s requirements or would like advice on how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s at home, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.


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