Simple tips for Alzheimer's caregivers

Alzheimer's caregiving takes patience and flexibility. As an Alzheimer’s patient loses one ability after another, a caregiver faces tests of stamina, problem-solving, and resiliency. Maintaining your emotional and physical fitness is crucial, not just for you but also for the person you’re caring for. To reduce frustration, consider these tips for daily tasks — from limiting choices and reducing distractions to creating a safe environment. Preparing yourself, understanding your loved one’s experience, and seeking support from others can help you succeed on the caregiving journey.


Reduce frustrations

A man with Alzheimer's disease may end up unsettled when once-basic work ends up troublesome. To avoid difficulties and simplify dissatisfaction:

· Schedule wisely. Plan a routine to make every day more cheerful, simpler. People with Alzheimer's disease are capable of learning and following schedules. Often it is best to plan routine tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, when the person is most aware and fresh.

· Take your time. Things are going to take longer than they used to and you need to expect that. The person with Alzheimer's disease might have breaks often. Schedule more time for tasks so that you don't need to hurry him or her.

· Involve the person. Make your loved one to do work as much as possible with the less assistance. For example, they can wear their clothes, clean themselves independently if you lay out in the order they go on.

· Provide choices. Fewer options are better but give the person with Alzheimer's disease choices every day. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he or she prefers a hot or cold beverage, or ask if he or she would rather go for a walk or see a movie.

· Provide simple instructions. People with Alzheimer's disease can recognize and process clear and simple instructions quickly.

· Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and reduce the distractions at the time of having food and during conversations to make it easier for the person with Alzheimer's disease to pay attention to his actions.

Be flexible

As time passes, a person living with dementia will become more dependent. But there's a lot you can do to make your communication better and reduce frustration. Be flexible as much as possible and get used to your routine and expectations as needed.

For example, if your loved one starts insisting on wearing the same outfit every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. If bathing is met with resistance, consider doing it less often. Relaxing your expectations can go a long way toward self-care and well-being.

Create a safe environment

Alzheimer's disease affects judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing a person's risk of injury. To make it safe:

· Prevent falls. Avoid mats on the floors, extension cords and any clutter that could cause your loved one to trip or fall. Fix the handrails or grab-bars in difficult areas of the house.

· Use locks. Install locks on cabinets that contain anything potentially dangerous, such as medicine, alcohol, guns, toxic cleaning substances, dangerous utensils, and tools.

· Take fire safety precautions. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. If your patient smokes, make sure he or she does so only under the supervision. A fire extinguisher should be installed at home in case of emergencies, and the smoke alarms are also useful.

Focus on individualized care

Each individual with Alzheimer's disease will have its symptoms and progression in a different way. According to that, caregiving techniques should vary. Customize these practical tips to your loved one's personal needs.

Remember, your loved one's responses and behaviors might be different from what they used to be. Patience and flexibility — along with good self-care and the support of friends and family — can help you deal with the challenges and frustrations ahead.