At present, 50 million individuals are believed to be living with Alzheimer’s internationally and that includes more than 5 million Americans. Some studies indicate that this number could exceed 14 million by the year 2050. As well, the stressful job of an at-home caretaker often falls on volunteers, family members, or unpaid caregivers. Despite the stressful circumstances, there are many ways you can provide quality compassionate care at home. Read on to learn Six Tips for Compassionate Alzheimer’s Care.
Understanding Alzheimer's and Compassionate In-Home Caregiving
1. Reflect On Your Role As Caregiver
Compassionate care often starts with understanding your new position. If you are looking after a parent or family member, it can be hard to accept the degenerative illness and how it changes this person you know so well. To prepare for the tasks, a caregiver must alter their expectations about what someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s can do, and they must make these adjustments at each stage of the illness.
By regularly reflecting on changes, it becomes easier to cope with the emotional loss, accept new realities, and think positively about the past while adjusting daily routines. Reflection can also deepen feelings of satisfaction in being a care provider, which is crucial for handling the new role with compassion.
2. Prepare For Troubling Or Problem Behavior
A common challenge associated with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is handling personality changes and any accompanying behaviour. Some problem behaviours include aggression, hallucinations, difficulty eating or sleeping, and wandering away from the home. The changes can make your role as a caregiver even more difficult, especially watching the changes occur in someone you love or seeing how they put them at risk. By preparing and talking with professionals about care, you can handle behavioral changes with empathy, love, and respect.
3. Create Daily Routines That Meet The Needs Of Your Loved One
For many persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia, some parts of the day can be more productive, while other hours come with problems that make tasks like eating, showering, or dressing difficult and confusing. By paying attention to and detecting behavioral patterns early, care providers can plan a daily routine for their loved ones based on the hours when they are most lucid and more capable.
4. Occupy Them With Energizing Activities
Activities that are simple, short, and have clear directions can maintain functional skills, keep them awake, and reduce the likelihood of degenerating towards the end of the day. Encouraging those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to make social connections and entertain themselves and others improves their quality of life. These kinds of activities can tire them out, too, leading to improved sleeping patterns and a decreased risk of sundowning.
5. Ask For Help When You Need It
If you care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s alright to feel overwhelmed, especially if you are taking on this role with little-to-no experience. You should not feel shame or guilt if you feel frustrated or out of energy, but to ensure that your family member continues to receive the proper care, reach out to others and ask for help rather than take on everything yourself.
By doing this, you can improve your own mental well-being, which is essential to proper care. The role can be physically and psychologically straining, especially with the added factor of knowing the person in their prime. Many care providers are at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, and to provide compassionate care, they must take care of their mental health, too.
6. Provide The Right Patient Handling And Mobility Equipment
Setting up the right equipment for the needs of your loved one in their resting area, along the stairs, and in other spaces they frequent can secure their health and well-being. Choosing the correct handling and mobility equipment makes it easier to handle your tasks while improving the ease of movement, sleep, and day-to-day enjoyment of your loved one. You can also select a system with the aesthetic qualities of their home or familiar surroundings, boosting their comfort and quality of life.