North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) is here for the entire family. We know that Alzheimer's and other dementias can have an impact on many individuals, not just the patient.
When caring for a patient with Alzheimer's, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:
1. As the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s gets younger in his mind. Let him talk about childhood, school, etc. Just ask, "How old are you?" (Ignore the gray hair and let him be young again). Bring a picture of yourself at an early age.
2. Use your imagination when you watch the birds or look at flowers. Let go of the fact that she forgot where the bathroom was. Look at the flowers with her and rejoice.
3. If she always says, "I want to go home., find an answer for the next 15 minutes, such as, "stay for supper." If he always says, "Where is my son?," find an answer that works. Then tell the entire family what worked. There will a favorite question. There can be a favorite answer that is not disturbing. Maybe the answer is, "Tom is at work."
4. Stop correcting them. Go with it, and let them live their reality. You cannot change it.
5. Accept that they are right and you are wrong. No more fighting.
6. Reassure them with phrases such as, "I’m not going to let anyone hurt you," "He’s at the hardware store. He’ll fix it later, " and "You are right, I forgot."
7. Learn his favorite songs, favorite stories, favorite place, favorite people, favorite food, etc. They all cause positive reactions, and they can be replayed and enjoyed repeatedly.
8. Listen carefully and actively listen. It is the most loving thing you can do.
9. Connect with eyes, then compliment on hair, shirt, etc.. Move slowly.
10. Tune the radio to the oldies station.
11. Night lights in the bathroom are very important.
12. Ask her to help with simple tasks, such as folding washcloths, putting stamps on envelopes, rolling yarn on a stick, etc.
13. When you do not know what to do, just laugh. It is healthy and fun!
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease and can be very overwhelming. The caregiver needs to remember to take care of himself: physical, emotionally and spiritually. Accept what you cannot change.