Thursday, August 6, 2015

Caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer is a brain disease which affects one out of ten people over 65 years old. The disease progresses gradually through death of brain cells. The track starts in the hippocampus, part of the brain where memory is initially formed. In years, the hippocampus is destroyed, meaning that new memories form less and less. After this period, Alzheimer’s disease starts attacking other brain regions, compromising functions and determining the stages of the disease. The following attacked brain areas are the ones in which speaking, logical thinking and emotions are formed. Towards the final stages, the oldest memories are attacked. Balance and coordinative functions are compromised. Finally, Alzheimer destroys the area that coordinates respiration and the heart. The evolution normally spreads over a 8 to 10-year period, being presently incurable.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when the person who suffers from Alzheimer needs permanent care. Usually, this is when your loved one can stay in a medical center or senior living facility that provides specialized care and treatments. Still, this is not always possible, which is why preparing caregivers for these steps is well advised.
Caregivers, who are normally family members, are facing difficult tests. If you are in such a situation, you have already realized that calm, patience and compassion are in order. So, there are several important pieces of advice for caregivers based on the stage of the disease.
First of all, as mentioned, know that patience is now your biggest quality. Try to be calm and understanding if you wish to support someone with Alzheimer. When communication becomes difficult or the patient stops talking, you will have to understand the needs.
It is essential not to raise your voice or yell at the patient, not criticize or mock.
Help the needy patient accomplish daily activities. Patients need help with dressing, washing, eating, walking, and taking care of their hygiene in general. Family members or specialized caregivers have to be there for them pretty much all the time.   

A very important fact is to not take over these tasks yourself if the patient is capable of doing them. Let him/her do diverse activities, because it is recommended to keep patients busy and active. Support people who can still do minor things: ask them to help you clean the house, wash clothes, do some gardening., while still possible; at one point, the patient will stop moving, so you will need to offer full assistance for every action. In order not to give up, remember how close you were and how grateful your loved one would be for your effort. 

Wild Rose Care Home provides non-medical care to seniors with Alzheimer's disease, but does not have a dementia special care, programming or environments.