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How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

How to care for someone with Alzheimers and Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are similar conditions, although they are not the same. Common symptoms are that the patient may experience memory loss, irritability, personality changes, and difficulty taking care of themselves and performing daily tasks. As the patient’s condition worsens, you will need to help the person with routine tasks, control their financial affairs so that intruders do not take advantage of their condition, and try to help them endure the disease as easily as possible.

There are many ways to help a patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This may include hiring a professional carer, contacting a dementia caregiver, and self-care.

In this article, we will look at tips for caring for Alzheimer’s patients, how to properly help them in everyday matters, and how to create a safe environment for them and establish contact with them.

 

Learn More About Alzheimer’s Disease

Learn more about alzheimers disease

Alzheimer’s disease includes three stages – early, middle, and severe.

Early-stage

Usually, patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s don’t need care in the early stages of the disease. They can do all the necessary things on their own. At this stage, patients may even continue to engage in professional and social activities. This may be noticeable when a person forgets any words or someone’s names. Also, in the first stage, patients may notice that it has become more difficult for them to write and solve problems.

 

Middle stage

At this stage, Alzheimer’s may include memory loss, confusion, and other symptoms such as:

  • Difficulties in recognizing loved ones;
  • Problems with self-organization and performance of necessary functions;
  • Inability to perform simple routine tasks, such as putting on clothes;
  • Anxiety;
  • Insomnia;
  • Disorientation;
  • Change in character and behavior.

Patients with dementia in this stage need the care of relatives.

 

Severe degree

When the patient is at this stage of the disease, they cannot perform the most straightforward actions and therefore need the care of a close person. At this stage, the patient’s relatives help them complete the simplest activities such as sitting, walking, and eating. Patients with a severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease do not participate in conversations, do not recognize loved ones, and have difficulty chewing and swallowing.

Read about life expectancy for Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia in our article.

 

Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients in the Early Stages 

Alzheimer’s patients may not require self-care in the early stages of the disease.

At an early stage of the disease, help from relatives can be provided in terms of support, assistance in accepting a diagnosis, planning the future, and taking into account the disease.

Caring for Alzheimers patients in the early stages

Help Make a Diagnosis

This is the first thing you can do to help your close person. Let them realize what is happening and process the information received from the doctor.

However, do not let your loved one digest what is happening for too long. Firstly, stress can negatively affect the health and well-being of our relatives, and secondly, it is necessary to carry out all additional examinations on time to start following the doctor’s recommendations as soon as possible.

 

Let Your Loved One Express Their Emotions

It is always difficult for any patient to accept their diagnosis calmly. Your close person, for sure, will have such emotions as anger, disappointment, and sadness.

Let your relative express their emotions by sharing them with you. Then encourage them to continue doing the usual activities that fill them with joy and help distract them from problems.

 

Use Available Resources

Many different resources can provide comprehensive dementia and Alzheimer’s care for patients at this stage of the disease.The first thing you can do is find the Alzheimer’s Association. Such institutions offer ongoing support to the patient’s relatives, providing psychological assistance by telephone, as well as providing counseling and training for caregivers.

You need to learn as much as you can about your family member’s dementia. Although the symptoms and course of the disease may be different for each patient, a large amount of knowledge in this area can help you in caring for the patient.

 

Find Out as Much Information as Possible About Your Loved One’s Illness

Even though each patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may have different symptoms, there are still plenty of benefits associated with people experiencing the same problem.

By communicating with people who have such a problem, you will be able to understand in more detail what your relatives will need, what difficulties may await you in the future, and what actions will help you cope with this situation.

Also, people who share the same problem with your close person will be able to give some caregiving tips for relatives of people with dementia and recommend useful books on this topic, special seminars, and educational resources that teach nursing skills.

 

Think Ahead About the Future Housing of Your Relative

Although at the initial stage of the disease, the patient can independently perform all the necessary actions, after a while, their condition may change, which will lead to them needing help to perform simple steps.

You need to discuss at an early stage where your relative with Alzheimer’s will live when their condition worsens. Discuss with your close person where they would like to live when they need help. If they want to live in your house, start thinking about your future residence.

 

Keep the Patient in Good Health for as Long as Possible

Another problem that you should help the patient with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to cope with is the worsening of the condition. This happens to every patient, but your task is to slow down this process. 

Try to take all possible measures to help stop symptoms’ progression. While there is no cure for some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, lifestyle changes can be effective in slowing down the course of the disease.

For example, exercise, proper nutrition, quality sleep, stress avoidance, and keeping yourself mentally and socially active can help improve brain health and slow the worsening of symptoms. You can also join the transition to a healthy lifestyle, thereby preventing the occurrence of diseases in the future.

 

Helping a Patient with Memory Impairment

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the patient may need cues to remember appointments, names, addresses, or words. You can stick sticky notes around the house with important information or teach him or her to set a reminder on their phone so they don’t forget important information.

 

Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients in the Middle Stages

In the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient needs more of your attention. Your relative may be losing their memory, which may lead to them getting lost in familiar areas. Also, the patient can no longer drive a car, they may stop recognizing loved ones, and their speech may become incoherent. The patient may experience anxiety, frequent mood swings, and insomnia.

If your close person is in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease, they need your help with routine tasks. Balancing your affairs and the burden of the sick is quite difficult, requiring proper planning and support from friends and relatives.

Caring for Alzheimers patients in the middle stages

Ask for Help

Most likely, when you begin taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient at this stage, you will need support and help from close people. Ask for help from your relatives or contact volunteer organizations that help caregivers care for patients.

While caring for the sick, you also need to keep your own business and hobbies in mind.

Seeking the help of a specialist in patient care will not only help provide better and more professional patient care but also give you time to deal with your personal affairs and recovery.

 

Contact Professional Caregivers

We can hire a professional carer who can help you care for your relative with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia from a few hours a day to 24/7. You can also hire someone to help in the areas of tasks you agree on in advance. This may be helping with household chores, making necessary purchases, or preparing meals.

  • Daycare offers activities and socialization for patients with problems such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Such centers even provide an opportunity for patients to continue working or attending to other needs. Your task is to find a good care center where they can be looked after and allowed to communicate with other people, work, and engage in interesting activities.
  • Temporary patient care by professionals frees up time for you to devote to work, travel, and socializing with friends. You can also ask for help from relatives who can bring food and help look after the patient while you can go about your business.

 

Take Time to Pondering the Things That Happen

As a patient moves into new stages of dementia, people who are taking care of Alzheimer’s patients need to change their expectations about what their relatives with Alzheimer’s might be capable of. Try to look at the situation more realistically, taking time to think about the change in the patient’s condition.

Keep a Diary

Keeping a diary can help you reflect on what’s going on, jotting down successes and reviewing difficult moments. Such a method can help cope with negative thinking, affecting mood and outlook.

 

Express Gratitude

This may seem inappropriate, but keeping a gratitude list can help you focus on your loved one’s abilities and not get stuck in their problems.

 

Learn to Appreciate What’s Happening

In the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient still has a lot of the same abilities and qualities. Evaluate the positive actions of the patient, focus on those aspects in which the person is still strong, and appreciate their human and professional qualities.

More about difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s you can read in our blog.

 

Alzheimer’s Patients’ Nutritious Diet 

Starting in the middle stages of caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, you will need to take care of their proper nutrition. People with this disease should eat well and drink enough water.

Patients with this disease lose their cognitive abilities, so that the patient may forget about cooking or eating. Because of this, their weight may decrease and worsen their health.

Alzheimers patients nutritious diet

People who help the patients with Alzheimer’s disease with cooking food should ensure that:

  • Serving meals for the patient occurs every day at the same time;
  • Bright colored dishes are laid out, on which the food will stand out well;
  • The patient’s breakfast portion is large enough;
  • The patient should take vitamins prescribed by the doctor;
  • Food for the sick person, such as cheese, sandwiches, or fruit, is cut into pieces;
  • The patient should eat in silence, turning off the TV and radio;
  • The products are such that the patient can easily chew and swallow.

 

Plan Activities and Exercises to Help with Alzheimer’s

Although patients with Alzheimer’s disease lose their ability to work, you must involve them in the activities they are capable of doing.

Examples of activities you can help the patient with Alzheimer’s disease get involved in:

  • Assistance in food preparation;
  • Physical activity;
  • Lessons;
  • Simple routine tasks such as folding clothes and cleaning;
  • Work in the garden.

It is also necessary to involve patients in social life and participation in activities such as:

  • Going to a restaurant;
  • Visiting museums and parks;
  • Watching films;
  • Communication with friends and family members;
  • Playing board games;
  • Walks.

If your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease goes for walks on their own or visits cultural places, add a piece of paper to their wallet or clothing pocket. On the paper, write that the patient has the disease and give their full name, address, and phone number. All this will help you ensure that if your close person with Alzheimer’s disease gets lost, they will be helped to get home.

 

Communication Tips 

As diseases like Alzheimer’s or your relative’s dementia progress, you may notice that they communicate differently from other people. More often than not, patients with dementia have trouble finding the right words; they repeat the same things and have difficulty expressing their thoughts.

However, if your relative with dementia has any noticeable cognitive problems in their speech, do not focus on this. Even though your relative may not even show interest in communication, you need to encourage any of their social interactions.

How you can help a patient with Alzheimer’s and dementia to save a communication:

  • Be patient with your loved one;
  • Establish eye contact with the patient and maintain an open posture;
  • Speak clearly and slowly;
  • Avoid questions that put a strain on memory by asking questions such as “Do you remember what the events were yesterday?”;
  • Show respect in conversation;
  • Allow yourself some rest if you feel tense.

 

How to Create a Safe Environment for Alzheimer’s Patients 

As you know, dementia impairs the ability to think and solve problems. This impairs not only the ability to socially interact but also increases the risk of injury.

Also, relatives should think about taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient’s safety in the apartment. For this, there are several recommendations, such as:

  • Fall prevention. Check that the floor is free of scattered mats, extension cords, and other objects that could trip the patient and cause them to fall.
  • Use locks. Add locks to cabinets that contain objects that are dangerous to the patient, such as medicines, alcohol, weapons, toxic detergents, and sharp objects.
  • Observe fire safety regulations. Store matches and lighters where the patient cannot find them. Make sure the fire extinguisher is fresh and the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries.

 

Role of Animal Companion

For Alzheimer’s patients, having a pet is a good idea.

Cats, dogs, and other types of animals can provide constant love and companionship for the patient. Patients with an early or intermediate stage of the disease are still able to care for a pet, and this will help them stay active.

  • If caring for a pet is difficult for your close person with Alzheimer’s, you can arrange with neighbors to jointly care for the animal and walk with it. You can also ask a neighbor to ensure your loved one remembers feeding the animal.
  • There are organizations such as Meals on Wheels America provide pet food. You can also contact various charities that provide animal care services for older people with medical conditions.

 

When Should you Seek the Help of a Specialist?

When should you seek the help of a specialist

You will need to help the patient with Alzheimer’s disease more and more each time. Caregivers may need professional services to help care for a patient. This is especially true for helping with tasks such as bathing, transferring, or changing the patient’s clothes. Carers may need the help of professional nursing services when the patient:

  • Needs constant assistance, which concerns daily and personal activities;
  • Stops walking independently;
  • Has seizures;
  • Unexpectedly loses significant weight;
  • Often falls and gets injured;
  • Often experiences anxiety;
  • Starts getting lost.

Thus, sooner or later, the patient may need the help of professional services. Look for trusted contacts from organizations that provide professional care for people with dementia. You can also chat on the forum with other caregivers who care for relatives with the same condition. They may recommend to you trusted organizations where you can hire a caregiver.

 

Start the Treatment with Lone Star Neurology 

Alzheimer’s disease is a dangerous problem, and as the disease progresses, you will need to help the patient with Alzheimer’s disease more and more each time. You can be their caretaker and even get paid for it. However, you may have a limited amount of time you can spend with your loved ones helping them manage their care. So, in this case, you can hire a professional guardian. 

Also, do not forget that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are complex conditions that overshadow the patient and the relatives caring for him. As a caregiver, you also need the support of friends and loved ones, just like the patient. Therefore, continue to lead a social life and involve the patient in it.

If your close person has Alzheimer’s or another disease, visit our clinic’s website. Call us at (214) 619-1910, and make an appointment.

We treat various neurological disorders such as:

This is not a full list; our neurologists deal with many diseases. Go to our website to read more about our clinic. Check out the blog with many helpful articles about different diseases, their diagnosis, and treatment.

 

FAQs 

  • How do you care for someone with Alzheimer’s?

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you will need to help your family member adjust to living with the disease. To do this, you can become their guardian, hire a paid guardian, or contact the dementia care helpline.

  • Can you care for someone with  Alzheimer’s at home?

If you are caring for an Alzheimer’s patient who is at home, you will need to take care of their food, help them go to the toilet, make sure they take their pills on time, take them to the doctor, help them walk their pet, and assist with paying accounts. Also, you should take care of the safe movement of the patient around the flat, removing all objects from the floor.

  • How do you make an Alzheimer’s patient happy?

A disease such as dementia upsets a person who helps their close person with Alzheimer’s or dementia to do daily tasks and the patient themselves, especially when they are still aware of what is happening. Try to cheer the patient up with things like going to the park, museum, or cinema, buying sweets, and communicating with nature and animals.

  • Do Alzheimer’s patients sleep a lot?

Patients with dementia, especially in advanced stages, may sleep for a long time. Relatives of patients may be seriously worried about this. The cause of excessive sleepiness in patients is associated with brain damage, which becomes more extensive as the disease progresses. This leads to the fact that the patient constantly wants to sleep.

  • Can Alzheimer’s patients watch TV?

Watching TV for Alzheimer’s patients is not a healthy activity. Scientists from University College London concluded that excessive television viewing leads to memory loss and contributes to the development of dementia. They also noted that people over 50 who watch more than 3.5 hours of TV daily are more at risk of memory loss.

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Lone Star Neurology
4.4
Based on 659 reviews
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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