6 Tips to make everyday tasks easy for patients with Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and one that can make it exceptionally difficult to manage everyday tasks unassisted. Here, patients usually suffer from memory loss among other symptoms like depression, mood swings, and aggression. Naturally, the discomfort brought on by dementia and the demands of dementia care can lead to frustration on both ends, the affected and caregiver.
Thankfully, there are ways to make the carrying out of basic chores easier, and as a caregiver, it is recommended that you employ these to have the best chance at successfully handling Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are 6 tips that can help make everyday tasks easy for dementia patients.
Set a routine and ensure that it is followed religiously
A significant step to making life simpler and more predictable for the patient as well as yourself, as a caretaker, is to have a set routine. The simplest thing to start with is sleeping and waking times as odd sleeping hours can cause confusion among patients with regard to the time of day.
The next step includes having a set routine for the daily activities as well, including personal hygiene, food timings, and other daily tasks. Dementia patients tend to prefer familiar schedules and don’t respond well to changes. However, if there is a need for a change in routine, doctors suggest giving constant reminders to patients, both written and verbal, in preparation and well in advance.
Make your home a safe environment
Safety is a primary concern for all mentally afflicted patients, and especially so for senior citizens with dementia. Remember, people with dementia usually struggle to focus or keep track of things, so it is important to employ a form of child-proofing for the home.
This includes limiting access to dangerous areas in the house, using child-proof locks on medicine and kitchen cabinets, and installing grip bars along stairs and in the bathroom. All of these are basic safety precautions you should put into place and continue to improve upon with time. However, these precautions may come at cost of the patient’s freedom and independence. So, employ them on a case-by-case basis to avoid overwhelming the patient with change.
Also Read: 9 Simple ways seniors can prevent falls
Incorporate mental and physical exercise into the day
Staying physically active strengthens the patient’s muscles and allows him/her to stay independent for longer. Common, low-stress activities you can incorporate throughout the day include dancing, stretching, and walking.
These activities also stimulate the mind and can serve as a vent for the inevitable frustrations that crop up. Other mentally stimulating activities include puzzles, board games, books, and even painting. The goal here is to keep the hands and fingers strong for as long as possible.
Get adaptive clothing, specially designed for Alzheimer’s patients
As the degenerative diseases persists (currently there is no Alzheimer’s treatment that works as a cure), it can get a lot harder for caretakers to clothe patients easily. Also, for patients that prefer to clothe themselves, regular clothing may become increasingly difficult to wear and so, switching to clothes with Velcro fasteners or zippers may help. However, in the later stages where the mental degeneration is severe, you should consider getting clothes that are harder to remove as inappropriate undressing is a common problem for dementia patients.
Be clear with instructions to reduce frustrations
Dementia patients best respond to one-step communications and clear instructions. Try to avoid making a complicated request but if needed, do it in a step-by-step manner. Additionally, when giving instructions, avoid offering too many choices. These can easily overwhelm the patient and elicit a stubborn response.
Also Read: How to distinguish between forgetfulness and dementia among seniors
Reduce distractions during important times of the day
TV, radio, music, traffic, children playing, or loud sounds are all distractions and should be avoided during important parts of the day. Dementia patients struggle to focus and may not be able to easily distinguish between the sources of different sounds. Doing to your best to reduce these distractions is sure to make life simpler for them as well as yourself.
These are a few tips that can help you make everyday tasks a lot easier for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in your home. In fact, these practices are also employed at Kshetra, an ISO-certified assisted living facility. The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care services by Kshetra ensures that seniors enjoy non-intrusive assistance, administered by trained non-medical staff with all daily tasks including bathing, grooming, getting dressed, medication management, and even toileting. Kshetra has a professionally-designed caregiving program to provide dementia patients with the care they need while ensuring their comfort and happiness. So, if you’re ever pressed to seek short or long-term care for your elderly loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact Kshetra.