Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and affects other critical mental functions. Alzheimer’s affects cell connections. The cells eventually degenerate and die, destroying memory and other essential cognitive functions in due course.
Alzheimer’s disease is allegedly caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins (Beta-amyloid and Tau) in and around brain cells. Deposits of Beta-amyloid form plaques around brain cells. Tau deposits, on the other hand, form tangles within brain cells.
Although the cause of said process isn’t exactly known, scientists know beyond all reasonable doubt that it begins many years before symptoms appear.
Living with Alzheimer’s is difficult irrespective of the stage it is at for both patients and relatives. The task is endless as patients become dependent on people around them to do the simplest things.
As their case worsens, family members have to avail themselves or employ the services of a caregiver so the situation of their loved one can be adequately managed.
How To Care For An Alzheimer’s Patient
Alzheimer’s, in most cases, is already chronic when detected. Patients already start to develop difficulties in carrying out basic activities and can almost not remember anything.
Eventually, they begin to rely on someone else. However, the person in charge of taking care of them has to know and do certain things to make life easier for both of them. Below are things you need to do to manage the situation correctly:
Educate Yourself On The Disease
You cannot deal with what you have limited knowledge of. Educating yourself, doing research, and knowing the disease will go a long way in helping you manage the situation.
The symptoms worsen as the disease progresses. The condition has different stages; mild, moderate, and severe. Changes occur as the stages increase. Read more here to learn about the stages.
Symptoms of each stage vary and become more severe as the illness progresses. Understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s and the symptoms that come with each stage allows you to know what you are more likely to face and helps with an effective plan.
Create A Routine
Making the patient comfortable should be a top priority. This step can be achieved by creating a routine that should be followed religiously.
By doing this, you enforce a feeling of familiarity and comfort in the patient. Thus, making them feel less uneasy and evading paranoia.
Making changes should be avoided as much as possible because this can confuse the patient and cause them to panic.
If changes are necessary due to unavoidable circumstances, patients should be given ample time to readjust.
It has already been established that new routines shouldn’t be introduced out of the blues, but they need to keep patients occupied and cannot be overemphasized.
Caregivers should plan simple, exciting activities that can keep patients fascinated without stress being involved as the patient does not need any of that.
Activities patients loved to indulge in while healthy might not necessarily be what they want to do anymore. You should be able to find new things that will interest the patient. Examples of activities you could indulge them in include:
- Listening to music
- Cooking and baking with proper supervision by you
- Long walks
- Board games
- Reading them stories
you could also take them to visit old friends or help them make new ones as the feeling of loneliness could envelop them sometimes.
However, it is suitable to give heads up to those around by informing them of their condition privately if possible, so you do not hurt the patient.
This is important because it gives people room to tolerate their excesses and makes things less awkward if a patient does something out of place or character.
Feed Them Properly
In many cases, patients forget to eat or drink water as they do not even remember things like that. Alzheimer’s can lead to weight loss, especially when they eat the same meal every day, making their diet imbalanced, they cannot smell or taste food.
This makes them have no appetite to eat at all. Patients could also have trouble chewing and swallowing, so they lose interest in eating due to the stress that comes with it.
Caregivers should ensure that they serve them meals simultaneously every day to create a routine, give them finger food that is easy to chew, encourage them to eat, and ensure there is no form of distraction.
All the points stated are extremely vital as they are only a few amongst the crucial things an Alzheimer’s patient needs to make life easy.
Caring for a sick person could be hard irrespective of how much you love and care about them. If you feel incapacitated to do this, you could hire the services of a professional so that your relative can live longer and happier.