for his beautiful vintage mustang, himself every single year, or the lady who ran a busy household single-handedly must now battle this degenerative disease to make even the simplest of basic needs or preferences understood. Mealtimes In the earlier stages, the person will be better able to cope with preparing and eating food independently. However, as they grow more dependent on you, it will be up to you to make sure they maintain a healthy, regular diet. Good nutrition is crucial, to avoid physical weakness and infections. Make sure the person is comfortable when eating. Check that dentures fit well and that prescribed drugs are not interfering with certain foods or inhibiting the appetite. You may need to help the person with the physical act of using a knife and fork – and remind them of table manners if appropriate. Reduce mealtime distractions to a minimum– turn off the phone and TV and clear the table of any unnecessary items, such as magazines or flowers. If you are not able to be with the person when they eat, make sure they know how to prepare the food or heat it up safely. Medical visits As with any disease of this seriousness, regular medical visits cannot be avoided. They can be a useful chance to connect with the person’s doctor and medical team and to ask any questions you may have. However, you can only get the most out of these appointments if you prepare the person who has Alzheimer’s disease for them as best as you can. Try to fix the appointment at a time of day when you know that the person will be at their best and, if possible, when the medical waiting room will be quietest. Bring snacks, a drink, any required medication and an activity to keep the person happy while waiting. Make a list of all the points you want to raise with the doctor in advance – keeping your queries as specific as possible. When in the room, take notes of everything that is said and, if the person wants to answer the doctor themselves, sit yourself behind them so you can quietly nod or shake your head in support of their replies. The Holidays Preparing for the holidays can be a bitter-sweet occasion: you remember how the person used to celebrate or participate in holidays of yore. Yet you can still glean happy times from spending holidays with a loved one with Alzheimer’s if you do a little forward planning. Consider what the person used to enjoy about the season and try to include them in the same activities as much as possible. If they used to bake the cake, get them to measure or stir in the ingredients. Let them help you wrap gifts – concentrate on the process rather than the end result and rejoice in their efforts and involvement. Tone down the decorations, as too much unfamiliar ‘razzle-dazzle’ can cause distress. Avoid lighting candles and other potential safety hazards and do not display replica fruit or berries, as this might prove confusing. Keep music and celebrations low key with plenty of chances for naps and breaks away from the party. Schedule visitors for the person’s best time of day and judge how long they should stay by how the person is coping. Try to have a few visitors on separate days instead of everyone at once if possible. Sleep Sleep disturbances can take their toll on both you and the person you are caring for. Often, Alzheimer’s disease can reverse a person’s former sleep patterns, causing drowsiness in the day and periods of wakefulness at night. This can progress until deep nightly sleep is replaced with less restorative round-the-clock naps. Consider cutting down the person’s caffeine and alcohol intake, especially in the evenings. If they insist on a drink, serve them a soft drink or non-alcoholic wine or beer in their favourite glass. Sleeping pills are generally discouraged for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as they can cause confusion, which can then lead to falls. Instead, plan the day so that the person starts off at their most active, then winds down physically towards bedtime. Establish a bedtime routine and leave a night light on in their room for comfort. Disclaimer: The avobe was not written by me but for this blog. I have full written permission from the writer to claim credit and post at my will. We will be working on other posts in the future. When you see me end it with joe (ir) you will know that the post is a collaboration. I think I should name my ghost writterbut person requests to stay in background.
Hope you enjoy and find use in this as we continue this journey.
God Bless & Keep You & This Country of Ours!