Handling Senior Dementia Behavior

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It can be challenging when attitudes and behaviors start to change in this person you have known so well and loved for so long. Sometimes it can be like they are a totally different person, and this can require a great deal of patience. Maybe more than you know that you possess. Dementia is a dynamic disease, the condition will constantly develop. There is a spectrum of behaviors associated with dementia, and it is best to understand and adapt to the specific behaviors of your loved one and use the best approach.

Memory care facilities and assisted living communities are always an option, but many seniors would like to live with their loved one for as long as it is still possible before having to make that decision. At first, any changes in behavior may seem frightening and confusing, but we will provide several key tips for dealing with a senior loved one’s dementia behavior at home.

These tips are meant to help you retain as much of the lifestyle and partnership the two of you have been used to for many years.

 

You don’t have to necessarily do it alone either. Keep in mind that care can be a team effort, not simply babysitting. It is always best if you can solve a problem together. As the brain becomes more and more compromised, this will not always work. There may come a point where almost all of a loved one’s decision making will be up to you, and perhaps to the point of making the tough decision for memory care facilities as the next step.

 

Identify causes / triggers of worsening behavior

-It is true that little is known about what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease in seniors in itself. However, at certain stages of dementia there may be specific situations, circumstances, or even objects that serve as triggers to cause bad dementia episodes that may lead to hysteria.

-Sometimes the behavior of a senior with dementia is more embarrassing or disruptive rather than harmful. It is wise to avoid correcting or reprimanding a senior with dementia when a circumstance is not critical to avoid the risk of escalating the situation or creating more confusion. Often times a senior with dementia may not even have realized the mistake they’ve made and may be incapable of appreciating how to correct it.

 

Do Any Patterns Indicate Behavioral Problems? 

  • If and when an episode occurs, once it has been resolved it may be good to evaluate what happened and try to look for what factors were involved in the problem. They may be obvious, like turning off the television leading to protest. They may also be subtler, like the time of day, weather conditions, or amount of darkness in the room for instance.
  • Try to be aware of the household environment conditions at all times. Change can be uncomfortable for dementia patients, and you may not realize the impact that a strange new smell or noisy new stimuli can induce on the ease of a senior with dementia’s mind.

 

Be As Understanding As Possible

  • Do as much as you can to validate the feelings of your senior loved one with dementia. They may no longer be in the position to make their own daily living decisions, and it may not be wise to correct or argue with them. However, a senior with dementia is still very much an emotional being, sometimes doubly so. It is important at this point to do all you can to demonstrate your empathy and show them that you are treating them with dignity, respect, and love.
  • You will be creating a new routine with them, and whether they remember you or even appreciate you as much as they should, you must do all you can to present positive, reassuring stimuli into their world.
  • Your body language and tone of voice will often communicate more information to a senior with dementia than anything you actually say. You must do as much as you can to be mindful of this even in the midst of the most stressful confrontations or inevitable dementia episodes. By being understanding and emotionally supportive, you are equipping yourself for an easier job overall.

Christmas with Alzheimer’s

Happy senior man getting Christmas present, satisfied

 

The holidays are the time of year where families make it a priority to get together and celebrate. However, for millions of Americans, the cheer of the holidays becomes a little complicated when an elder loved one has Alzheimer’s. It can be painful and disheartening for members of the extended family to become slowly forgotten by someone who has been so dear to them throughout their lives. When the differences and changes in a senior’s personality become apparent, the question for everyone becomes how best to handle a Christmas with Alzheimer’s.

There are still ways that a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be included and participate in the family cheer. Some adjustments or special accommodations may need to be provided in order to allow the family congregation to go smoothly.

The first thing that needs to be done is preparation.

A bustling house full of merry and rowdy guests may be overwhelming for seniors with dementia, depending on which stage of Alzheimer’s your relative is in. If you serve as your aging parent’s primary caregiver, then you will be well acquainted with their specific comfort levels for participating in daily events, and make plans accordingly.

If you are not your senior loved one’s routine caregiver, it is best to have a talk with the person who assumes that duty, to gage how best to accommodate your loved one spending Christmas with Alzheimer’s. Understand their limitations of the extent to which he or she can be involved with the activities and conversations with others at the dinner table or socializing in the living room, etc.

It is imperative to make certain that the other family guests are on the same page regarding your senior’s Alzheimer’s condition, and understands their role in helping and being supportive. Take the time to have a call or send an email to the extended family coming for Christmas, so everyone has an idea of what to expect and how to behave to avoid any embarrassing incidents of frustration or confusion among the family.

Ensuring that everyone is prepared and educated about their senior loved one’s dementia will relieve anxiety, stress, and uncertainty for everyone involved in the family reunion, and help with better enjoyment of the holiday. It is key to try and act as normal as possible, and allow everyone to be relaxed and comfortable. If any outbursts or episodes are likely to occur for a family member with advanced Alzheimer’s, then make certain to have a plan for mitigating the situation as casually as possible. If there is a comforting place where your senior having a panic episode can go to calm down, then make sure the room is ready and easily accessible at all times. Incidents of confusion can be more likely to occur when the house is busy and filled with people an Alzheimer’s senior may not recognized. It may be further awkward for elders to experience many unfamiliar people directing a lot of attention on them.

Try to plan for the possibility of hiccups when scheduling your reunion. It is best to make your schedule as dynamic as possible, flexible enough to set aside time to attend to any difficulties that the stress of spending Christmas with Alzheimer’s may bring. The party may have to slow down at times, but it is worth it to everyone who wants to do all that is necessary to be inclusive of a struggling loved one with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Myths Exposed

Elderly woman with headaches

 

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease increasingly affecting the elderly community in the United States and around the world. While much research is being done and newer treatments are being invested in, there is still uncertainty about Alzheimer’s disease among doctors regarding the cause and cure for Alzheimer’s. This uncertainty has lead to speculations that have turned into popular Alzheimer’s myths that are not proven facts. With many articles floating around the Internet and well-meaning misinformed messengers, it can be hard to know what to believe regarding Alzheimer’s disease information.

 

Here is a list of 4 Alzheimer’s myths you need to know that must be exposed:

 

Myth 1. Alzheimer’s just affects elderly people.
Although most cases of Alzheimer’s disease occur in seniors over the age of 65 years old, there are still substantial instances of people as young as their 30s or 40s developing the disease. Just under 10% of Alzheimer’s cases are from these younger demographics.

 

Myth 2. Still having a good memory means you don’t have Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s first affects short term memory and the ability to learn and retain new information. Just because a senior loved one can still vividly recall their oldest, dearest memories, does not mean that Alzheimer’s has not taken root. Look for quirkiness in recalling recent events, rather than forgetting details for long ago when watching for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Myth 3. Alzheimer’s victims are unaware of their symptoms.

The signs of Alzheimer’s do not go unnoticed by most seniors. A failing memory is hard to ignore, and it can be very concerning. The disruptions of memory trouble may lead seniors to become afraid that memory lapses will lead to bad accidents like leaving the stove on, and seniors may feel that they cannot trust themselves. Some days will be better than others for recollection, so a senior must develop an effective plan with caregivers and establish good communication.

 

Myth 4. Smarter, More Educated Seniors Lose Memory Faster.

Higher education and mental stimulation actually help the health of the brain and assist in preserving memory for longer. Staying active and working cognitive activities into the day, using basic problem solving skills can go a long way in preserving a healthy brain for longer.  Wealthier, more educated seniors may have the opportunity and capability to recognize signs of Alzheimer’s disease “sooner,” but Alzheimer’s is no respecter of persons.

 

Unfortunately, memory is in fact an inevitable part of the aging process. Every five years after the age of 65, a senior’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s doubles. Although the likelihood of memory loss does increase with age, that is no guarantee that memory loss will occur. Many senior live with healthy minds decades into their retirement years. A great precaution for avoiding Alzheimer’s disease is to adhere to simple health strategies such as proper diet and exercise, and to educate yourself with the various Alzheimer’s facts as they become discovered through new research, as well as to caution yourself against the Alzheimer’s myths by doing a little research of your own.

 

 

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Adult Care

young woman helping senior lady with the housework

 

While Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are still in their earliest stages in seniors, you may find your senior loved one can still function and perform daily tasks independently. Seniors at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may still effectively socialize, carry out their jobs, and drive. This is the stage where your duties of adult care for your affected senior are the least demanding. But it is no less tragic to know that worse phases of the illness are yet to come, and to watch your aging parent’s behavior and trademark personality slowly change as their mental health deteriorates.

 

Alzheimer’s is a very frustrating disease because it is currently unpreventable and incapable of being slowed or stopped in affected seniors. The best thing you as their caregiver can do is to educate yourself as much as possible about their dementia, so that you can know what to expect and how to handle eventual troubling symptoms as they arise in later stages of the disease.

 

“Early stage” Alzheimer’s is characterized by mild obstruction to a senior’s thinking and learning abilities but can still actively participate in conversation and activities, with a few hiccups perhaps. Alzheimer can often go undetected for a while during the early stages, as elders may conscious enough simply dismiss weak symptoms as “brain farts” or having “a senior moment.” The beginning phase of Alzheimer’s disease may last a few years before worsening to more noticeable and tragic effects.

 

Life After An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

 

Once you get confirmation from a doctor that a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, your approach to caring for them may be more of a partnership than extensive caregiving duties. You may be helping them remember where they were in the story they were telling, or reminding them to take their medication, without having to heavily involve yourself in every aspect of their daily routine.

 

Being able to go slow at the early stages of disease gives you a grace period where you can work with your aging parent, spouse, or extended family on planning for the long-term care strategy for a senior in later stages of the disease when the effects of the disease worsen. Not every family is in a position to provide the extensive amount of caregiving, monitoring, and medical attention that an advanced Alzheimer’s senior needs. Careers and education can be obstacles keeping an adult child from providing 24/7 round-the-clock care for a senior. Working with your aging parent in the early stages gives you ample preparation time to plan and get family finances in order for arranging the best-fitting senior care coverage.

 

Ways You Can Be Helpful In Early Alzheimer’s Stages

 

As we mentioned before, a senior at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may only need some light assistance with daily tasks and obligations. Ways you can be a help to a senior with dementia may include:

  • Keeping track of medicines and reminding when to take them
  • Helping to manage their money or pay bills
  • Assisting with organizing events or outings
  • Finding misplaced items around the house
  • Keeping track of important phone numbers for them

 

Your Caregiving Attitude For Early Stage Alzheimer’s

 

Keeping a positive and encouraging attitude for a senior during early stage Alzheimer’s  is key to their peace of mind and reducing their stress during this rough time. You will have to muster up a greater degree of patience and slow pacing for activities than you are used to when handling a senior loved one’s affairs. As a caregiver, it is important that you remain supportive and do not make them feel like a burden. Then again, if you do not feel you are capable of providing the extent of care they need, and do view your new duties as a burden, it may be best to consider placing your senior in the professional hands of a memory care facility.

 

Not everyone is cut out for caregiving, and if you feel you are not capable of doing it with a loving and sincere attitude, it may be better to leave it to skilled nurses who have made a career out of it. Letting guilt make your decision to be a caregiver against your will can lead to an atmosphere of resentment in a home, which is not healthy for anyone in this rough time.

 

Frustration and stress can be avoided by preparing as soon as possible, and not putting off planning for senior care until it suddenly becomes imperative. Evaluating your options for the best care is not a good decision to rush. It takes time and research to get it right. Ask your doctor any questions you have about how Alzheimer’s disease may affect specific aspects of your family’s unique lifestyle, and make the needed adjustments for a smooth caregiving environment with all the family working together as a team.

 

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What is Alzheimers

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What is Alzheimers, What Are Alzheimer’s Hallucinations? 

 

When a senior has Alzheimer’s hallucinations, that senior may see, hear, feel, smell, taste things that aren’t really there. Sometimes hallucinations terrorize a senior with cognitive disorders, other times hallucinations just confuse or mislead them. Often times, dementia-induced hallucinations take the form of visions of people, images, or objects from a senior’s past.

 

Hallucinations are caused by Alzheimer’s disease as it slowly deteriorates and alters a healthy brain. False perceptions brought on by hallucinations usually don’t develop until the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease in seniors. When you suspect that a senior loved on in your care is having hallucinations, it is important to arrange a doctor’s visit for evaluation to be sure that hallucinations have not been brought on by other possible causes. Other ailments that could potentially bring on hallucinations in seniors include Schizophrenia, dehydration, alcohol abuse, and complications with medicine dosages.

 

How to Treat Hallucinations

 

Scheduling a medical evaluation can determine what stage of the disease a senior is in, and what may be the best medical treatment for an Alzheimer’s senior at that point. Usually, the initial treatment involves a non-drug approach, such as vitamins or diet change. But when these methods fail to alleviate cognition impairment, medications may be prescribed, Doctors can prescribe antipsychotic medications to seniors with developed cases of Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Handling Hallucination Episodes

 

There are strategies for coping with hallucinations for seniors who don’t whose hallucinations do not seem to hinder their ability to carry out daily life. If the hallucinations are upsetting and inhibiting to their comfort, security, happiness, or ability to socialize and interact with others, you may need to come up with a set of calming words or reassuring touches to re-stabilize an Alzheimer’s senior’s peace of mind.

 

Respond to hallucination episodes in a supportive manner and comforting words. When a frightened episode occurs in response to a hallucination, offering up quick distractions may be an effective manner to call attention away from their false sensory perceptions.

 

Modifying a hallucinating senior’s environment may be helpful in restoring peace to their living space. Objects that are prone to set them off might be best hidden or moved. Home items that make loud noises or startling sounds should be relocated to areas where a senior with Alzheimer’s can be better monitored.

 

 

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Dementia Care

 

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When a senior in your care is diagnosed with or is showing symptoms of dementia, it can be a very devastating and frustrating time for everyone in the home, and it is time to look for dementia care.

If you feel called to assume the duties of caregiving for a senior loved one with dementia, we have some helpful guidelines for handling some of the most common areas of difficulty. Here are some suggested solutions for the best types of caregiving for dementia.

 

Aggression

 

Dementia is a disease that changes the brain in many ways, altering emotional responses and perception of events. This can lead to communication difficulties and behavioral problems for a senior with dementia. Symptoms of emotional instability include amplified anger, sadness, confusion, and paranoia. Mood swings and aggressive outbursts may suddenly occur in response to physical or emotional discomfort. A senior with dementia showing violence or hostility may be acting out of fear and desperation in response to a feeling of helplessness.

 

To handle increased aggression from a senior with dementia in your care, try to calmly identify the cause of their aggression, attempt to understand their reasoning for feeling so suddenly angry (even if it does not make sense to you or seem reasonable). Peacefully restoring order to an aggressive situation will require a lot of patience and control on the part of the caregiver. If possible, try to reassuringly shift their attention onto something else besides what has made them upset. Make certain that a confused senior loved one is not threatening or presenting a danger to anyone else.

Whatever you do, don’t respond to aggression with more aggression or aggravation. Don’t attempt to forcibly restrain someone unless there is no choice.  Mitigate the situation with as much respect as possible; avoid acting dominant, barking at them with sharp words like “No!”

 

Confusion

 

A senior with dementia may abruptly lose his or her sense of place, asking a question like “where am I?” or declaring “I don’t live here!” In their minds, they want to return to a place they feel they have control. A senior with dementia may express a desire to go home, even though he or she is already safe at home.

 

Home for them might be some place long ago and far away. But you must do your best to tenderly remind them that home is “here” now. Proving simple explanations or keeping photos on hand can help to explain. Speak clearly, and repeat yourself. Don’t assume you have been understood. Sometimes your explanations for sudden questions like “When can we leave?” can be answered with what is called a therapeutic fib. Sometimes just receiving any answer or reassurance is enough to keep questions of dementia content.

 

It is unwise to always respond to confused questioning with lengthy explanations or reasons to these questions. Your explanations may add more confusion and more questions, further detracting everyone from the current activity. Do your best to not give frustrated responses either. Showing hostility can breed more hostility.

 

Impaired Judgment

 

A senior with dementia may be suddenly prone to unfounded accusations. A senior might go into hysterics claiming someone has stolen some possession that has been gone to him or her for decades. Deductive reasoning and basic math skills may suffer as well. Symptoms like these are part of the unfortunate deterioration of brain cells, affecting their judgment capabilities.

 

A way to assist seniors suffering from poor judgment is to help them become more organized, so that they posses a sense of place and where things belong. If a senior with mild dementia attempts to balance their checkbook or calculate a tip at dinner, it may be helpful for you to check their math when you can. Passively monitoring their behavior can be more effective than accusing them of being incompetent and revoking their privileges to manage their own affairs all together. This may result in an atmosphere of resentment and contention in the home.

 

Assisted Living Options

 

During later stages of dementia, sometimes it is not possible for a family member to offer the degree of caregiving for dementia that a senior loved one needs. Then a senior may require the more specialized care of trained professionals. Assisted living facilities and memory care communities provide a safe environment that cares for a senior’s health and monitoring needs. Research your options for senior care and memory care facilities near you to ensure that your senior gets the care and attention they need.

 

 

 

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Tips That Help Keep Couples Together In Assisted Living

Alzheimers Assisted living

Life expectancy has steadily increased over the recent decades in America, and marriages are lasting and going strong well into couples’ golden later years. As a result, when it comes time to decide upon a needed assisted living arrangement or relocation, fewer seniors have to enter into this next phase of life alone.

Senior couples may have to decide together where to situate themselves in order to live comfortably and get the medical care they need. This can also be tricky as both spouses may have very different health care requirements or varying requirements for assistance. Both spouses will surely want what is best for the other, but sometimes that becomes complicated when one spouse suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and the other has taken it upon his or herself to stay and assume a care taking role.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for couples selecting the most appropriate assisted living option available.

Do Your Research Early

Couples can save a lot of stress by getting ahead of the game by doing a little research before assisted living becomes a pressing issue, talking it out and agreeing on a place. Knowing what you’re getting into and having a secure plan before any sudden accident or unexpected problem forces you to think fast or limits your insurance options can make the idea of assisted living much less scary or confusion, and might even give you something to look forward to as a couple if you find somewhere that seems to meet all of your mutual requirements.

Managing Finances

Having a long-term plan for security is part of being prepared and thinking ahead. This entails planning in advance, maybe setting aside some money, saving, or doing whatever else you can to be in a financially secure position to be ready for any possible future adjustment to assisted living.
Residential couples are often charged for one room, with fee lodging for the second person. The average cost per month for room and board is around $1500, plus charges for any extra care as needed. And many senior care communities allow couples to receive and be charged only for the care they need on an individual basis, instead of charging an overall blanket to cover both spouses. Pricing levels are tiered, with lesser-needed assistance on the lower pricing tier. For those seeking a more high-end lodging experience, private one-bedroom apartments for assisted living go for a median rate of $2,575 a month according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. Two-bedroom apartments and multiple bedroom suites are offered at some more luxurious facilities as well for those with greater space needs who can afford an upcharge.

Prepare For the Changes

Making the transition as a couple, to a new life at a senior care facility will require mental preparation and some lifestyle adjustments to anticipate. Modern assisted living communities aim to preserve a sense of independence for their residents, however there will certainly be some changes to adapt to with new routines and social spheres present in this next phase of life. It is imperative to become versed in the routines, regulations, and rules of the land for your prospective senior care facilities when doing your research. A senior couple may enter a facility knowing no one but each other, so socializing and making friends will be necessary to budding into the community. Most senior care residents are widowed, so couples starting a life in assisted living together are fortunate to have someone to have to talk to from the start. But senior care communities are generally quite friendly and sociable with people entering from all walks of life to share rich stories of life’s well lived.

Consider Both Partners’ Needs

When researching prospective facilities, a senior might discover one that’s perfect for him—but maybe not his wife so much, or vice-a-versa. Selecting an arrangement (like every other major decision in a marriage) may require some compromises on both parts to accommodate the preferences and comforts of both partners to call a place home. Please be considerate of the personal and shared needs (emotional, physical, privacy, hobbies, relational, sociable) for both spouses. It is also helpful for couple to look into finding activities or things they can do together, like fitness programs or available interest-clubs.

Range of Senior Living Options 

There are several types of senior care options that vary in the degree and extensiveness of care and independence available for residents. Overview these terms when doing your research regarding the sort of assisted living you as a couple are looking for.

  • Independent Senior Living – An option for couples who require little-to-no assistance with daily activities (driving/medicine/food).
  • Assisted Senior Living – An option for couples looking for a maintenance-free life-style, but can see they might need a little help now or in the future. This option is a combination of amenities and hospitality services, along with basic care services such as medication management and personal assistance with daily activities such as dressing or showing, as well as basic nursing and dementia care.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community– allows seniors to live independently in single-family homes, apartment, condos, and then transition into a assisted living centers when it becomes necessary.

 

While it may for the moment be a touchy subject, and a little inconvenient it is best to be prepared and educated on assisted living options for the future. Try not to leave the responsibility of relocating entirely in the hands of your children, so you can have some say in choosing a living arrangement that is better suited to your preferences and level of comfort as a couple.

Memory Loss

Improve Your MemoryMemory loss is a condition that affects millions of Americans and it can be a frustrating and emotionally stressful hardship to endure when attempting daily activities.  While some of the more serious memory loss disorders like Alzheimer’s remain without a cure, medical research has shown that there are numerous precautions and lifestyle habits that can be applied to prevent memory loss down the road.  Protecting a brain that is still healthy is certainly easier and favored option to fixing a damaged brain.  Fortunately, methods to prevent cognitive deterioration are relatively simple, inexpensive, and bordering on common sense, giving you more control than you may realize!

Plenty of medical literature is available with tips and strategies for keeping the brain healthy and averting cognitive decline.  The works of authors Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, including, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, The Memory Prescription, and Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, provide excellent information grounded in extensive research aimed to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to fight for your extended mental fitness.

Research emphasizes the following as being the most helpful approaches to preserving a healthy brain as long as possible:

• Nutrition – maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding excess refined sugar and processed foods, while nourishing the body with water, fruits, vegetables, and vitamins are a great way to refresh the brain. Green Tea, rich in polyphenols (antioxidants that protect brain cells), and even wine in moderation (1 glass per day for women, 2 for men) has proven to improve memory and cognition.

• Physical Exercise – incorporating some aerobic exercises into the daily routine works to stimulate brain cells. The exercised body produces endorphins that improve mental focus.

• Mental Exercise – Engaging in fun, mentally stimulating activities, like puzzles, manual work, or video games, (activities not too challenging or easy) can improve mental retention and performance by keeping the mind on its toes, so to speak.

• Social Relationships – People are social beings, and developing relationships with others and engaging in communal activities (clubs, volunteering, church) can serve to keep the mind stimulated and engaged. Even the companionship of a pet can provide some relational help.

• Controlling Stress – Enriching the body with routine rest and proper sleep is one of the healthiest precautions that can be taken for the brain. Find time in your schedule to do some meditation and reflection.  And don’t forget that laughter is still the best medicine, as it is a mental activity that rouses most of the brain.

Read: How Lost Memories Due To Alzheimer’s Can Be Restored

These are some of the primary preliminary measures to be taken for preserving a healthy brain.  If you are currently affected by memory loss to the point that it begins to noticeably interfere with performance of usual daily activities, it may be time to seek out medical attention or review your options for assisted living.  The red flags for memory loss becoming more serious lie in increased frequency of unusual incidents like leaving the stove on or forgetting to lock the doors at night.

 

How to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s


Alzheimer's
If you’ve recently found out your loved one has Alzheimer’s, there are a million questions now racing through your mind. You have no experience in taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, so where do you begin? Read on for a few simple tips on how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Remember, When One Sense is Lost, Another Takes Precedence

Dealing with Alzheimer’s is difficult for you and your loved one. There are going to be physical and emotional functions they will no longer be capable of controlling. As you and your loved one may want to give up, remember, just as one’s hearing seems to improve when they lose sight, they will gain other capabilities. Don’t let one loss bring down your loved one. Find alternative ways to do things. They should not be left out of family gatherings or duties from around the home. Try to keep them in their normal routines.

Communication

Truthfully, communication with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s is difficult from the moment you hear the news. If you’ve never dealt with an Alzheimer’s patient, you don’t know what to expect. How do you break the news to them and your family? What do you do when they stop understanding and following along with what you are saying?

Remember, it’s not that they don’t know the words. So please don’t talk to them like you would to a child. You also should never yell at them. Instead, speak in a calm and reassuring tone. When engaging in conversation, it’s best to do so with minimal distractions around.

Turning off the television will help them focus on just you two. State their name often to keep their attention during the conversation. Speak slowly and directly towards them. Make your sentences short so that they don’t have too much information to process at once. Then, allow them to respond to your comments or questions.

Bathing

Often you will feel as though you’re taking care of a child. However, the bathing process between a child and senior are surely different. You are dealing with someone stronger and more headstrong willed than a child. If they don’t’ want to bathe, it could be because it’s confusing or frightening. So your best step is to prepare them for the experience.

You’ll find that consistency goes a long way with Alzheimer’s patients. Create a bath or shower schedule and stick to it. Before you start to do anything, inform them of your actions. So if it’s starting the water, washing their back, or grabbing the towel from the bar, let them know.

Bring all the essentials into the bathroom with you. This way you don’t need to go in and out of the bathroom. The more organized you are the calmer they will be.

Dressing

Dressing a person with Alzheimer’s can present a challenge as well, however, if done right, it can be an easy task. The key to dressing an Alzheimer’s patient is to dress them comfortably. This is also an opportunity for them to feel secure and in charge about their lives. They can make a decision about themselves, from the undergarments they wear to the shoes on their feet.

Again, have a consistent schedule and process together for them to put their clothing on for the day or night. At the beginning of the week, place several outfits out into a section of the closet. This will be the clothing you expect them to wear, yet give them the opportunity to select it for the day. If you find they have favorite clothing items, perhaps a particular shirt, buy multiples. It will definitely relieve the stress from you needing to wash three or four times a week to ensure it’s clean each day.

If you find they are more upset if they aren’t able to dress themselves on their own, be mindful of the attire you set out for them. For example, clothing with lots of buttons, zippers, and strings can be frustrating for them. Opt for clothing with little to none. Velcro and elastic waist banded clothing is every caretaker’s friend.

Also, make sure you allow enough time for them to get dressed. Trying to rush them will frustrate them, and it could spiral to other unfortunate behaviors throughout your day.

Eating

If there’s ever a time to need patience with a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, it’s during mealtime. Some seniors want to eat all day while others don’t want to eat at all. You’ll need to find ways to balance their diets. Your loved one may enjoy watching television during this time. However, it’s a distraction and will make the process that much harder and longer.

Alzheimer’s Diet: Foods You Need To Remember To Eat

Work out a deal with them and offer frequent reminders. Tell them you both will watch a particular television show once they’ve finished eating. This helps them focus on eating, chewing, and holding their utensils correctly.

Be sure to have a variety of choices available. For instance, if you prepare an entire meal with meat, potatoes, and vegetables, have a can of soup ready. Do not give them bland food either. If they are on a restricted diet with limited sugar or salt intake, read up and watch cooking television shows to see how you can substitute and offer tasty food. Many foods you can change the food’s texture, flavors, and colors to make your loved one happy.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s just requires patience, understanding, and researching ways to make them comfortable.

Do you know of anyone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s? How did it make you feel the first time you found out? What was something amazing you noticed about their caretaking skills?

 

How Lost Memories Due to Alzheimer’s Could Be Restored

Alzheimer'sAccording to recent information offered from a new UCLA study, those with early Alzheimer’s may not have to say goodbye to their memories forever. In fact, this study stated that lost memories can, in fact, be restored. While decades of information told the public that once the memories were gone, they could not be brought back, this new information announced by researchers offers hope to many.

The study

According to previous information, once a person developed Alzheimer’s disease, they lost their memories due to the loss of connections within the brain cells, which were completely destroyed by the disease. However, this new information offered from researcher involved in the study has said this simply isn’t the case.

While it was previously thought that long-term memories were erased from Alzheimer’s, researchers say that long-term memory isn’t stored in the synapse, which means it cannot be destroyed through the brain changes that occur with Alzheimer’s. This information isn’t only released from an educated guess, but because several research studies were done, and all of the evidence that was examined shows it to be true. It’s believed that the lost synaptic connections can regenerate after they’ve been damaged from the disease, and eventually the memory will come back. Although the researchers did say it won’t be an easy process, it seems to be one that is possible.

The study was done by examining a snail specifically its learning and memory process. They used a series of electric shocks on the snail’s tail area, with a device that could last for several days. This type of shock was used to examine the snail’s long-term memory. If the snail could remember the shocks, its long-term memory was intact. The snail had a brain pattern similar to those with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, information on long-term memory was provided by the study. According to the information, the growth of new synaptic connections is cause by serotonin in the brain, which leads to long-term memory. As you go throughout life and form long-term memories, your brain actually creates proteins, which work to make new synapses in the brain. When the brain is subjected to injury, this natural process is altered, causing the long-term memory process to also be disrupted, preventing them from forming.

Read: Will We Have A Cure For Alzheimer’s By 2025?

Memory and Alzheimer’s

One researcher, named Glanzman, said that this research could result in big things for those with Alzheimer’s. He stated that while the disease is known for destroying the synapses in the brain, this doesn’t mean that the long-term memory is destroyed, and with the new information offered from the study, it may mean the exact opposite. While several areas of the brain are needed for different functions, when it comes to long-term memories, as long as there are live neurons within the brain, your brain is able to recover some of your lost memories if not all of them. However, this is only during the early stages of Alzheimer’s, as the neurons do begin to die off as the disease progresses and begins to extend to other areas of the brain. Once the neurons die during the later stages of the disease, the memories are no longer able to be recovered. By promoting memory recollection during the early states, the memories found at this time may be extended in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.