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How do I Care for Someone with Alzheimer's Disease?

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease can prove to be a challenging task. The exact care is based on the individual's condition and personality. As each person degenerates in a different way, their personal state must be taken into account. The most important thing for caretakers to do is to maintain a balance between patience and diligence.

When planning activities for a person with Alzheimer's Disease, think about their previous interests. It is a bad idea to force activities on someone who usually would have no interest in them. If grandmother didn't enjoy Bingo beforehand, chances are she would not be happy sitting at a Bingo game for hours. If she was a prolific painter beforehand, she will most likely find joy in sitting with paints and paper; just don't necessarily expect the same level of artistry to appear in her work.

Dementia often affects speech. It is important to speak simply and use many explanations when working with someone with dementia. Always use names and be open with the person about what is going on. Narrate the day to them to keep speech flowing, since hearing words can help to focus them.

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When it comes to food, many with Alzheimer's Disease have sudden changes in likes and dislikes. They may prefer foods other than their usual favorites and not eat as much as they used to. It is usually helpful to prepare their new favorites and eat with them. Sometimes watching others eat can encourage them to eat more.

Many afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease lose the ability to care for themselves hygienically. They usually require a bit of help for simple tasks like bathing, brushing teeth and even toilet hygiene. Since this is an intensely private matter for most people, the patient may be embarrassed or upset by the process, so caretakers should take it easy and be as delicate as possible.

As the primary caretaker for someone with Alzheimer's Disease, it is important to consider safety. The house should be danger-proof much like it would be for a child. Medications and dangerous substances should be kept out of sight. Doors should be safely locked to keep them from wandering out of the house and car keys should be kept away so that they don't attempt to drive.

Depression is a common occurrence for those with Alzheimer's Disease. It is important to set up routines and plan activities that they seem to enjoy. The key is to try to make like worthwhile for them. They may not be able to perform at the same levels they once did, but they can still enjoy life. Music and art in particular are known to help with depression and therapists who specialize in this area can assist caretakers who are not artistic. If depression seems to get out of control, doctors may prescribe medications to help them.

Caretakers can sometimes experience their own mental health issues while caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease. Anyone holding this responsibility should take care of themselves as well. Caretakers should plan for time to themselves and stress relief activities to keep their own mood up.

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