Alzheimer’s is an irreversible neurological disorder that is ultimately fatal. A person with Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t detect any initial changes to the brain. These initial changes begin some twenty years or even more before symptoms of the disease reveal themselves. If you’re caring for a parent living with Alzheimer’s, here are a few tips to curate a safe environment for them and facilitate their lives.
A person living with Alzheimer’s might become easily frustrated when once-easy chores seem extremely difficult to handle. As their caregiver, it’s your responsibility to limit such challenges and ease their frustration.
Schedule wisely. It’s best to design a daily routine. Some tasks, including bathing or doctor’s appointments, seem easier when the person is alert and energized.
Don’t Rush. Anticipate that some tasks may take longer than others and dedicate more time to those. For example, if you feel like your parent is taking more time between eating and napping on certain days, reduce the time for other activities.
Involve Your Parent. Allow your parent living with Alzheimer’s to engage in activities requiring minor supervision. For instance, they may be able to prepare the table with visual cues or dress independently if you choose garments for them.
Provide Easy Instructions. People living with Alzheimer’s can’t follow complicated instructions. It’s best to provide your parent with crisp, clear instructions.
Reduce Distractions. Make it easier for your parent to focus by turning off the television and minimizing other distractions during mealtime or conversations.
Gradually you’ll find out that your parent with Alzheimer’s has become more dependent on you. This might increase your frustration. To avoid burnout, stay flexible and change your routine and expectations accordingly. Let’s look at it this way. If your parent wants to wear the same clothes every day, consider buying a couple of identical outfits. Similarly, if they resist bathing, do it less often.
Create A Safe Space
Alzheimer’s affects judgment and analytical skills and increases the person’s vulnerability to injuries. To ensure your parent’s safety, you must:
Prevent Falls. Declutter the spaces your parent frequently uses. Install handrails and grab bars in dangerous areas to minimize the chances of injury.
Monitor Water Temperature. Reduce the thermostat on the hot-water tap to prevent any burns.
Exercise Fire Safety Measures. Keep all kinds of flammable objects away from your parent’s reach. If your parent smokes, always supervise them.
Think of Personalized Care
Each individual living with Alzheimer’s will undergo its signs and progression differently. Therefore, you must tailor the tips discussed above to your parent’s unique needs.
The Bottom Line
If you’re serving as the primary caregiver for a parent living with Alzheimer’s, you might find some solace in Mary Moreland’s heartfelt memoir The Gap Between Loving and Supporting Someone with Alzheimer’s. Her book traces Moreland’s experience with grief as she came to terms with her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis after her father’s passing away. This resource also offers valuable advice on caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s.