Alzheimer’s / Dementia Care
Creating calm structure is essential.
Alzheimer’s / dementia care involves specialized training that emphasizes flexibility, embracing the here and now of the patient experience, and being willing to go with the flow to preserve familiarity and comfort.
Allwel’s experience in providing service to individuals with traumatic brain injuries dates back to 2000. Our experience has helped us understand the challenges of memory loss and impulsive behaviors. This makes us a perfect fit for providing understanding care for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s / dementia. Our staff use the same gentle approach to make sure that our patients are attending to their personal needs and have established routines, as we know that familiarity provides comfort to our patients. We strive to provide familiarity and routine through our staffing process as well.
Our team of care navigators, nurses, and social workers are trained professionals who can provide additional services to manage beyond the physical needs of your loved one. We can also assist with the time sensitive and financial responsibilities that are associated with living in their own home. These needs can include shopping, paying bills, managing medication refills, scheduling important appointments, or simply getting out for visiting and social activities.
Remember – caring for an individual involves taking care of the person and taking care of the caregiver. The more support you’re able to bring in, the better you will be able to help your loved one.
What Should I Expect When Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s / dementia
Alzheimer’s / dementia affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Later on, it also leads to declining physical health. Alzheimer’s and dementia are often termed together, as Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. There are many forms of dementia which is a general term for all the different symptoms of memory loss, declining motor skills, changes in behaviors, and more. The approach to care is generally the same, regardless of type of dementia.
We believe in having a real conversation about what to expect, so please excuse our frankness.
- Always keep in mind that no two days will be the same. Mood and energy level have a lot do with how the day will progress. Things that happened yesterday may not happen today, and things that did not happen yesterday may, indeed, happen today.
- Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s / dementia is embarking on a journey, and as with any journey, the more preparations you make the less challenging it will be.
- Earlier is better when setting up the people that will become responsible for all financial and health related decisions. Regardless of the progression, some essential conversations should be initiated. This means considering who will be the Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney (will make health related decisions on behalf of your loved one), and who will be the Guardian/Conservator (will make the financial and care decisions). We always recommend speaking with an Elder Law attorney as early as possible to make sure that everything is in place. No matter what your level of comfort with these subjects is, when it comes to your loved ones, it will always be hard. If you need help with where to start, please contact us.
- Get your loved one’s wishes down on paper now. Depending on how far along the diagnosis is, it is important for the family to know how your loved one feels about the important items that apply to their care, their things, their end of life wishes.
- Download our home care guide, to begin making decisions and planning. This is overwhelming, so please call us so we can help you create a plan for your loved one’s care. At this time, we will help you think through all scenarios, including creating a back-up plan.
- Establish a caregiver support system. Things come up in our daily lives, but the responsibility for making sure that the medications are taken on time, correctly, that there is food, and that your loved one is safe will not change. Make sure that communication between caregivers is good, open, and well planned.
Creating a Routine as Familiarity and Comfort
Many of the challenges that bring out behavioral outbursts and negative emotions from the person being cared for can be prevented by establishing and keeping to a consistent routine. Same wake-up time, same time for breakfast, keeping things in the house in the same places, same times for and types of activities. This is very important. Also, having your loved one do as much for themselves as possible is equally important. Just because a person cannot do one activity does not mean they cannot do another. Experiment and try again often. Again, what can be done one day may not be able to another, but the reverse can also be true. Just keep in mind what will be safe and what will not. Incorporate as much visitors and social interaction as possible, but not so much as to overwhelm.
How Do I Communicate with My Loved One Who Has Dementia
It goes without saying that patience is the essence of all communication as your loved one’s physical and mental abilities decline. The further along your loved one is in the progress of their dementia, the more simple the communication should be, such as limiting to yes or no questions versus offering open ended choices like “what do you want to do today?”. Limit ideas to one at a time. Remember that the speed at which information is processed declines, and there will be a point where even the simplest tasks will have to be broken down into each component. You will have to be the person who recognizes that the conversation is becoming futile. Feeling frustrated will be normal. Losing patience will happen. Take a break. Recharge. Ask for help from your backup. It is important to meet your loved one where they are at presently in communication abilities, not to argue your point or try to correct them. If, for example, they tell you it’s 1962, then accept their present belief and move onto another topic rather than trying to convince them it’s the present year. Arguing or correcting will not improve their quality of life. The more you attempt to disprove their point, the worse they will feel about their own comprehension and self.
We Have Home Care In Place-Now How Do We Stay Involved?
This is a journey so pace yourself. Don’t be embarrassed or feel less involved by asking for support when and where you need it. Remember, the dignity and love you are preserving for your loved one, makes all the effort and challenges worthwhile. Allwel will be here to let you know how your loved one is doing when you are not there. We do this by letting you know the details of your loved one’s day, activities and appointments. You will receive a daily check in and a weekly report. This will give you a chance to not just review your loved one’s day but also information to use to ask them questions and discuss their activities.