How to Best Help Those with Alzheimer’s – by Stepping Back
When caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s natural to want to do everything for the person to minimize feelings of frustration – both for your loved one and for yourself. However, it’s in everyone’s best interest for the person with Alzheimer’s to maintain self-worth and dignity by managing tasks as independently as possible. Try these tips to enhance your loved one’s independence:
- Allow extra time. Try not to let the issue of time guide the decision on whether or not to take over a task. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s has the ability to perform the task himself, allow the extra time needed and provide encouragement and positive reinforcement along the way.
- Break it down. Taking a larger task and separating it into small, simple steps can change it from insurmountable to possible. For example, break down the task of getting dressed into one article of clothing at a time, with gentle prompts at each step.
- Look beyond verbal cues. Sometimes, the best way to communicate and assist in a task is through non-verbal demonstration. In the example of getting dressed above, showing the senior how to put your arm through a sleeve or slip your foot into a sock can be much clearer than speaking.
- Rely on prompts. The brain has an incredible ability to connect tasks with sensory prompts. Simply placing a toothbrush in your loved one’s hand in front of the sink, or a spoonful of food at mealtime, can spark sensory memories and result in taking the next step to complete the task.
- Call in reinforcements. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can take a toll on caregivers in a variety of both emotional and physical ways, and it’s important for the primary caregiver to have backup care available to allow for respite. Take family and friends up on offers to help, and call in a professional home care agency that specializes in dementia care.
At Hired Hands Homecare, we understand the sacrifice involved in providing the best care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. It takes an incredible amount of patience and selflessness, and, as rewarding as it can be, it can also be draining when trying to go it alone. We would love to partner with you in providing the very best Alzheimer’s care possible for your loved one. Call us at 866-940-4343 at your convenience to learn more.