Guidelines You Can Use As An Alzheimer

Many Alzheimer’s patients are cared for at home during the mild stage and even sometimes through the beginnings of the moderate stage of the disease. The caregiver is often a family member or close friend. Having guidelines for caring for the Alzheimer’s patient that are based on the symptoms and progression of the disease can be helpful for keeping the individual safe and comfortable.

At some point in the moderate stage of the disease the family must make a decision about where the patient will receive the best care available. This care is usually provided in a care home, nursing home or skilled care center, and also hospitals depending on the severity of the symptoms at each stage of the disease. The individual may also have other conditions or diseases that may determine the best placement.

There are four main categories of care that are required for the Alzheimer’s patient: daily care, preventing falls, mobility and safety.

Daily Care:

The individual will need to be supervised during the mild stage to be sure they are eating properly prepared and nutritious meals. This may require assistance with planning of meals, shopping, meal preparation and serving. As the disease progresses and cognitive abilities decline the individual will no longer be able to plan, shop for, or prepare meals. It will especially be unsafe to prepare meals as they often forget to turn off appliances such as oven and stoves. Personal hygiene may suffer if they are not assisted as they advance towards the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In the severe stage all daily needs and personal needs have to be done for them.

Preventing Falls:

In order to prevent falls the home or facility of care needs to have features that address the needs and symptoms of the Alzheimer’s patient. A ramp should be installed for each entrance into the home or building. A chair lift or elevator where practical is beneficial for getting the individual to multiple stories within the structure. Stairs are very dangerous and must be safeguarded by a gate at the top and handrails preferably on each side of the stairs. You can place non-skid strips on the stairs and paint the edge of each step with light paint or place a reflective tape on the edge to make seeing each step easier. Grab rails by the toilet in tubs and showers will help to prevent falls in the bathroom. All stairs and hallways should be well lit even at night.

Mobility:

As the disease progresses mobility often requires a walker or cane so it is important to plan walking areas well so that there are no rugs to slip on or objects to fall over. Bed rails installed on either side of the bed will allow the patient to get in and out of the bed without assistance longer. The individual will graduate from cane and walker to a wheelchair in order to maintain mobility longer and also to encourage independence. Keep in mind that low standing furniture is more difficult to see so if you have these move them to other locations away from walkways. Tie up loose electrical cords and remove all unnecessary objects from high traffic areas and walkways.

Safety:

Safety issues can revolve around keeping the individual from wandering outside and getting lost to making sure they are well cared for during respite times.

To keep them from wandering and encountering danger take the following precautions:

* Fence in all swimming pools no matter the size

* Lock all exit doors

* Install safety locks on all windows

* Place safety bars on upstairs windows

* Keep an identification card on the individual (in wallet, purse or pocket) at all times that state next of kin or emergency contact person

* Keep updated photos of the individual

* Notify local police that the individual suffers from Alzheimer’s and may wander so they are aware while out on patrol

When hiring for respite care check credentials carefully and interview several times allowing the interviewee to meet the patient only after they have been selected. Make sure safety guidelines are made available to all respite helpers.

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