Caring for a parent, grandparent or other aging loved one who is mentally and physically healthy can be challenging at times. Add Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia to the equation and the task of providing elder care becomes particularly daunting. There are many things that can be done, however, to make home care less difficult.
Contemplating Dementia Home Care
The first thing to determine when contemplating home care is whether it is in the best interest of the person for whom the care is needed. Realistically assess whether the home environment can be modified so that it is safe and conducive to proper care. Also, assess current commitments and personal limitations. While it is rewarding and highly admirable to provide elder care for an aging loved one, caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia is a full time job.
Once the decision has been made to become the primary caregiver, a host of other considerations must be addressed. The main purpose of home care is generally to allow the person to remain as independent as possible in a safe, loving and nurturing home environment. Creating this environment and ensuring adequate care around the clock requires planning and may necessitate significant modification to the home and adjustment of individual schedules.
Educate Yourself On Dementia Home Care
To the extent possible prior to commencing care, learn about various techniques that have proven successful when dealing with the particular type of dementia in question. Research strategies such as graded assistance, which helps individuals to accomplish various tasks with a minimal amount of help. Consult the primary care physician to ensure that any recommendation under consideration is appropriate.
Senior Safety First
When providing Alzheimer’s or dementia care, ensuring a safe environment is essential. Thoroughly examine the home, inside and out, for potential hazards. Lock up medications, lighters or matches, guns and knives. Use childproof latches on cupboards or drawers that contain cleaning supplies or chemicals. Secure anything that might be a health or safety hazard. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Eliminate clutter and remove throw rugs as they are a potential tripping hazard. Clear flat surfaces of breakables and ensure that pictures or mirrors are hung securely and not located where they might be brushed against in passing. Upgrade lighting, if necessary, so that all areas are adequately illuminated.
To prevent wandering, have secure locks installed on exterior doors and all windows. To ensure immediate access to provide assistance if needed, remove the lock from the bedroom and bathroom door. Keep a recent photograph on hand and make sure that a medical bracelet or other form of identification is worn or carried at all times in case of wandering or other accidental separation.
Create A Comfortable Environment For Dementia Home Care
In addition to ensuring safety, the environment should be as comfortable and soothing as possible. People with Alzheimer’s or other dementia are often easily agitated. Eliminate chaos and keep excess noise to a minimum. Ensure that meals are eaten in a calm atmosphere without distractions. When watching television, keep the sound adjusted appropriately and avoid programs that might cause confusion or agitation, especially those that contain violence of any kind.
Be proactive in the areas of temperature and personal comfort. Be aware of room temperatures and keep the thermostat at home set to provide a comfortable level of heating or cooling. For outings, take at least a sweater and a change of clothing in case of weather changes or accidents, either from spilling or incontinence. Always test the temperature of food, beverages or bath water.
Sleeping often presents unique challenges. Ensure that the bedroom is quiet and dim at night. Play soothing music or provide other background noise, such as the sound of the ocean. Use night lights in the bedroom, hallway and bathroom for safety. Develop a bedtime routine to calm and signify the end of day.
Part 2 of " Guide to Dementia and Alzheimer's Care at Home " will cover important topics for successfully caring for an elderly loved one at home who is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease such as;
- Dementia Care and Communication
- Dementia Care Routines
- Make Preparations
- Dementia Care Schedules
- Exercise For Dementia Home Care
- Dealing with Hallucinations from dementia
- Considering Pets For Home Care Patients
- Home Caregiver Back-up and Respite Care
- Remember To Take A Break From Being A Home Caregiver
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