For many people with Alzheimer’s, the middle stage of the disease is the longest, sometimes lasting for many years. During this time, memory loss becomes more pronounced and daily tasks become more difficult. The Alzheimer’s patient may exhibit strange behaviors and personality changes. For a caregiver, these symptoms can be very disturbing. Know what to expect, and what you can do to help. This is essential for making the transition from independent living to being dependent, for both you and your loved one.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many people continue to live fairly independently. As the disease progresses, however, most people gradually lose the ability to care for themselves. They may forget how to perform simple household tasks, exhibit extreme and troubling changes in personality and behavior, and have increasing difficulty communicating. This can be extremely challenging for caregiver and patient alike. At this point, you’ll have to assume responsibility for many facets of your loved one’s daily life: managing finances and healthcare decisions, personal hygiene, even eating and dressing. Many Alzheimer’s sufferers struggle to maintain their independence, and resent their loss of control. As a caregiver, it’s important to cultivate patience, and meet your loved one’s frustration with understanding and empathy. Although the transition from independent living to full reliance on caregivers is challenging, your help can make a big difference.
While middle-staged Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty engaging in activities that used to be second nature, it’s still important for them to have a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. Despite the fact that they may no longer be able to fully participate in social life, it’s crucial to involve them as much as possible in the family activities. Talking with them, playing music, going on walks, doing simple crafts projects together, or gently asking for their help with basic tasks, such as setting the table, can go a long way toward providing a sense of structure and meaning. Additionally, sticking to a consistent routine can help to reduce frustration and make the activities like bathing, dressing, and mealtimes much easier.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.