September 29, 2015 by
It’s perfectly normal for those impacted by Alzheimer’s to experience feelings of frustration when formerly simple tasks suddenly seem insurmountable. And it’s also natural for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s to take over these tasks to alleviate that frustration. We at At Home Independent Living, however, believe in fostering as much independence and self-worth as possible in those with Alzheimer’s, and suggest the following tips in the face of frustrations:
- Allow extra time. Try not to let the issue of time guide the decision on whether or not to take over a task. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s has the ability to perform the task himself, allow the extra time needed and provide encouragement and positive reinforcement along the way.
- Break it down. Taking a larger task and separating it into small, simple steps can change it from insurmountable to possible. For example, break down the task of getting dressed into one article of clothing at a time, with gentle prompts at each step.
- Look beyond verbal cues. Sometimes, the best way to communicate and assist in a task is through non-verbal demonstration. In the example of getting dressed above, showing the senior how to put your arm through a sleeve or slip your foot into a sock can be much clearer than speaking.
- Rely on prompts. The brain has an incredible ability to connect tasks with sensory prompts. Simply placing a toothbrush in your loved one’s hand in front of the sink, or a spoonful of food at mealtime, can spark sensory memories and result in taking the next step to complete the task.
- Call in reinforcements. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can take a toll on caregivers in a variety of both emotional and physical ways, and it’s important for the primary caregiver to have backup care available to allow for respite. Take family and friends up on offers to help, and call in a professional home care agency, like At Home Independent Living, that specializes in dementia care.
We’d be glad to share more tips on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and to offer some respite care to allow you the opportunity to take a much needed break from providing care. You can reach us at 315-579-4663 any time, or complete our simple online contact form to let us know more about how we can help you.