Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia- “dementia” is a broad term that characterizes the break-down or cessation of normal nerve cell activity in the brain due to a disease or condition. When the normative functions of nerve cells break-down or cease, one’s ability to create memories, behave properly, and think clearly become impaired. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of all dementia cases, with over 5.4 million Americans living with the disease, meaning that about one in eight older Americans are afflicted by Alzheimer’s on some level. More specifically, Alzheimer’s is characterized by an initial decline in the ability to remember new information as well as the onset of apathy and depression. These initial symptoms will progressively worsen until judgment becomes impaired, disorientation and confusion regularly ensues, normative behavior changes, and speaking, swallowing, walking, and other motor-skill related activities becomes difficult to do. Unfortunately, there is no prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s; as Alzheimer’s is a disease that slowly affects patients until they are unable to take care of themselves, it is often up to family members and friends of those afflicted by Alzheimer’s to take care of them.
Most of the people that take on the responsibilities of caring for aging parents with Alzheimer’s tend to already have a full plate of other responsibilities as well: they likely have their own families to take care of and have full-time jobs on top of taking care of themselves. Although the task of performing care-giving duties for a loved one with Alzheimer’s may be tough, there are measures and steps that friends and family can take to make their caregiver duties much more efficient and simpler. Since Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can neither be prevented nor stopped, you should keep in mind that as time goes by, the symptoms will get worse; it is recommended that preventative measures be taken so that when more progressive symptoms appear you are ready to take them on. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the task of taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s:
Make sure that the home is safe and free of clutter • Install an automatic shut-off switch for the stove and oven • Install adequate lighting both inside and outside the home • Remove locks on bathroom and bedroom doors in case an emergency arises while the patient is in either room • Prevent the patient from wandering or getting lost- people with Alzheimer’s tend to wander outside the home, often getting lost • Place an ID bracelet around the patient’s wrist; some newer models even come with GPS tracking • Notify local law enforcement of your loved one’s situation- they can be of tremendous help if notified ahead of time • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it • Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s while you’re working full-time and taking care of your own family is hard- there are services that specialize in Alzheimer’s care in Encinitas that you can contact to help you lighten your caregiver duties
San DiegoCompassionate Caregivers, Inc. 6965 El Camino Real, Suite 105-477 Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone: 760 390-0091 http://www.sdcompassionatecare.com