home health care agencies home health care agencies home health care agencies home health care agencies

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Home Care!

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

The source for qualified, trained Personal Caregivers for those who want the finest non-medical home care and support

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior.  Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can cause a person to act in different and unpredictable ways.  Some individuals become anxious or aggressive.  Others repeat certain questions or gestures.  Many misinterpret what they hear.  These types of reactions can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and tension between the person with dementia and their family.  It is important to understand that the person is not acting that way on purpose.  Behavioral disturbances can result from the inability to remember, reason, and communicate.  It is not uncommon for families to encounter difficult behaviors on occasion.  These behaviors are often the cause of frustration and can be very disruptive.  Identifying the likely cause of a problem behavior can help to determine the specific approach which may work best.

These behaviors are often the cause of frustration and can be very disruptive.  Identifying the likely cause of a problem behavior can help to determine the specific approach which may work best.

Alzheimer’s disease can especially cause a person to act in different or unpredictable ways, including:

  • Echolalia or repeating a word over and over
  • Repeating questions or activities over and over again
  • Exhibiting verbal or physical aggressive behaviors.
  • Thinking suspicious thoughts (paranoid thinking)
  • Having anxious or agitated feelings
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar people, places or things

The causes of poor behavior have been broken down into three basic areas:

  1. Those related to the person’s physical and emotional health such as medications, impaired vision or hearing, acute or chronic illness, dehydration, constipation, depression, fatigue, and physical discomfort like pain.
  2. Those related to the environment like an environment that is too large, has too much clutter, has excessive sensory stimulation, has no orientation or information clues like signs, has poor or no sensory stimulation, has no structure or is ever changing or new to the resident.
  3. Those related to the task like the task is too complicated, it has too many steps, it is not modified for the individual’s impairments or it is unfamiliar.

Whatever the cause, be sure to identify the specific challenge and consider possible solutions.  The following may give you some ideas for behavior control:

  1. First, identify and examine the behavior.  What was the undesirable behavior? Was it harmful to the individual or others? What happened before the behavior occurred? Did something trigger the behavior? Try to answer the following questions: What, where, why, when and how?
  2. Next, explore potential solutions.  Is there something the person needs or wants? Can you change the surroundings? Is the area noisy, crowded, well lighted?
  3. And finally, try different responses in the future.  Did your response help? Do you need to explore other potential causes and solutions? If so, what can you do differently?

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR ALZHEIMER’S BEHAVIORS

  • Try to identify the immediate cause
  • Focus on feelings, not facts. Look for feelings behind the words
  • Stay calm and be positive
  • Limit distractions
  • Try a relaxing activity, modify the environment
  • Shift the focus to another activity when they show aggression
  • Respond with a brief explanation
  • Show photos & other reminders to stimulate memory
  • Avoid questions, offer suggestions
  • Do not take their behavior personally
  • Provide an answer for repetitive questions
  • Accept their behavior and find ways to work with it
  • Don’t argue, acknowledge their opinions
  • Find outlets for the person’s energy i.e. walks, games, etc
  • Acknowledge requests and respond to them
  • Establish routines
  • Plan schedules
  • Limit choices
  • Allow more time for tasks
  • Maintain a safe environment
  • Keep things simple

There are nutritional factors which should be taken into account when caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. The following are suggestions by the Alzheimer’s Association which help a patient stay healthy.

  • Serve several small meals rather than three large ones.
  • Serve finger foods or serve the meal in the form of a sandwich.
  • Don’t serve steaming or extremely hot foods or liquids.
  • Limit highly salted foods or sweets if the person has a chronic health problem.
  • Fill in gaps between regular meals with healthy snacks.

If the person has trouble swallowing, food intake will be affected. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends the following.

  • Blending the food or alternating small bites of food with a drink.
  • Substitute fruit juice, gelatin, foods cooked with water, sherbet, fruit or soup for solids.
  • Serve mashed potatoes rather than fried potatoes.
  • Offer bite-size pieces of cooked meat, turkey or chicken salads instead of sliced meat.

Caring for a patient who has Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can be very demanding. Most of the time, family members take on the task of personally caring for their aging loved one who has a deteriorating memory. However, while this gesture may be highly appreciated, the family member has to know that it requires more than compassion to care for an Alzheimer’s patient. It’s a tough job and you need all the help you can get.

At American Companion and Caregivers, we provide Alzheimer’s care to clients who live within our service areas. In the process of providing memory care services, we also orient and/or train the family in dealing with this disease.

  • We make sure that the patient is in a safe environment.
  • We plan activities that allow the patient to make use of their remaining skills and abilities.
  • We educate and prepare the family with changes in the behavior of the patient.
  • We provide opportunities for social interaction.
  • We help the patient manage with daily living activities.
  • We plan and prepare meals for the patient.