June 20, 2017 by
The life of an Alzheimer’s caregiver is often complicated. In our previous blog, we discussed how to help determine when it’s time for a senior with Alzheimer’s to stop driving, and that is just one of the big decisions that Alzheimer’s caregivers have to make when it comes to making sure their loved ones are safe and healthy. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it’s common for family caregivers to want to take over and do everything for their senior loved one to ensure that he or she is as comfortable as possible. However, while this seems easier and more loving, it’s still very important to help the senior maintain his or her sense of dignity and independence. Try some of these Alzheimer’s care tips to provide assistance instead, maximizing independence and sense of self-worth:
- Allow extra time for activities. Try not to let the issue of time guide the decision on whether or not to take over a task. If the senior has the ability to perform the task herself, allow the extra time needed and provide encouragement and positive reinforcement along the way.
- Make tasks bite sized. 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 along the way.
- Look beyond verbal cues. Sometimes, the best way to communicate and assist in a task is through non-verbal demonstration. For example, when the senior is getting dressed, showing her how to put her arm through a sleeve or slip her foot into a sock can be much clearer than explaining it with words.
- 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.
- Get help. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver can take a toll on your physical and emotional health, 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 elderly care agency that specializes in dementia care, such as At Home Independent Living.
For more Alzheimer’s care tips on providing compassionate care that encourages independence for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, call us at 315-579-HOME. We can provide a free in-home assessment and share more about our specialized Lafayette home health services.