People with Alzheimer’s often need help to do their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADL is the term used to refer to the activities that are performed for self-care, including washing, dressing, grooming, shopping, cooking, etc. When they find it difficult to perform these activities, they tend to get frustrated and confused. The caregiver should be capable of handling their sudden loss of privacy and independence with gentleness and care. With the right knowledge, skills and patience, you should be able to calm them down and make them feel safe.
Following are some tips to help your loved one deal with the daily challenges –
Establish a routine People with Alzheimer’s find comfort in familiar settings and routine. Schedule the same place and time for specific grooming activities. Try not to break the routine since changes can be hard for them. If, in case, the routine needs to be changed, leave written reminders around for them to understand. It is better to choose the most relaxed time of the day for bathing and grooming.
Limited sound and movement People with Alzheimer’s can get easily disturbed by crowds and noise. Avoid taking them to crowded places like shopping malls. Try not to have huge family gatherings that could overwhelm them. Switch off the television when they are involved in other activities.
Familiar tasks and hobbies Even though they might not be able to do complex tasks, persons with Alzheimer’s can still be involved in doing simple things that they are familiar with. Engaging them in hobbies and games makes them feel productive and boosts their confidence. Encourage independent eating if they are able to do so. Acknowledge their efforts and give encouragement and support after they finish each task.
Be understanding Rather than them trying to adjust to the changes, it is easier for the caregiver to adapt to them. If they forget the directions to the bathroom, be gentle while you assist them or leave around a series of direction notes. Take their opinions into consideration and make them feel valued. Respect their privacy by closing door or blinds, while keeping a close watch.
Make decisions for them People with Alzheimer’s may get confused or agitated when they have to make decisions. So it is okay for the caregiver to make decisions on their behalf. For example, give them just two outfits to choose from instead of showing the whole wardrobe. Choose items from the menu at the restaurants based on their previous preferences.
Patience is the key while handling people with Alzheimer’s. When they struggle with something, offer assistance and help them complete the task slowly. A few