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4 Tips in Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's: September 25, 2011

In early stages of Alzheimer’s your loved one may be able to live on their own, but as the disease progresses they’ll need increasing help. Monica Dunkley is an educator with Lee Memorial Health System’s Caregiver Program.

“Many of the adults who need the care do not perceive that they need the care, therefore to them it connotates relinquishing my dependence.”

First Tip: Reduce frustrations. Someone with Alzheimer’s may become agitated when facing their limitations. So planning a routine, limiting choices and avoid distractions should diminish their frustration.

Second Tip: Be flexible.

“If they need personal care, they will not first identify they need the care and therefore personal care is even worse,” says Dunkley.

Bathing often becomes a major issue. Relaxing your standards may help. If someone doesn’t want to bathe every day, consider compromises, like alternating sponge baths.

Tip Three: Create a safe environment. Install locks on doors and cabinets, lower the temp on water heaters to avoid burns and keep matches out of reach. Also move or get rid of things that might lead to a gall like throw rug and electrical cords.

Step Four: Seek support. Caregivers are easily burned out. Programs like ‘Powerful Tools’ helps them find people who’ve been there.

“They’re going through a lot of loss themselves, grief over the relationship they once had with their loved one. They’re also taking on a lot of new roles and responsibilities,” says Danielle Musteffe with ‘Power Tools’.

Following an unfamiliar path may be a bit easier for caregivers, with a roadmap in hand.