Alzheimer’s products are designed to give caregivers — and individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease — tools to help them cope with the illness. There are a variety of products available that address the debilitating cognitive and physical effects of the condition. These include things that provide sensory and cognitive stimulation, like puzzles and games, along with items to help make everyday tasks easier, like bath aids. Another important category of Alzheimer’s products address safety concerns. Products in this category include alarm systems, canes, and walkers.
Sensory stimulation is often important for individuals experiencing dementia because it can reduce their feelings of agitation. There are several different types of Alzheimer’s products available that will stimulate all five senses. For example, there are DVDs that discuss routines, holidays, and traditions that patients may have trouble remembering. Music is also a soothing experience for some sufferers, so playing favorite music, from the past or present, can provide an enjoyable experience.
Caregivers can add another dimension to DVD-viewing by giving patients tactile objects associated with the video images. For example, if the video is on nature, accompanying it with leaves and branches could improve the experience. To stimulate the sense of touch, caregivers can also provide their patients with gel pads in different colors. They can be placed on the lap or a table to make handling them comfortable. These pads can have a soothing effect.
Having something to hold onto and manipulate may also ease the agitation and confusion caused by dementia. There are many products designed specifically for Alzheimer’s patients to meet this need. Some designs include items that fit around the neck, like a collar, or around the arm. Stress balls are can also provide a tactile experience to decrease anxiety.
Puzzles and games can provide Alzheimer’s patients with cognitive stimulation that may also ease the symptoms of the disease. It is important to purchase items that are appropriate to the patient's stage of Alzheimer’s. These are usually characterized as early, moderate, and severe. Appropriate puzzles may feature shapes, matching pieces, blocks, and stacking towers.
In addition to exercising the mind with puzzles and games, Alzheimer’s patients also need physical activity. Again, this should be appropriate for the individual's stage of the disease. There are exercise DVDs available designed especially for Alzheimer’s patients. A stationary exercise bike may also be helpful.
Other Alzheimer’s products may incorporate light therapy and aromatherapy. Items that provide illumination similar to sunlight can improve the moods of some people. Aromatherapy can also soothe the effects of Alzheimer’s because some scents can relax patients. Some people also claim that select aromas, like lavender and lemon balm, can help with memory. These kinds of products are available in lotions, soaps, candles, and shower gels.
Since the disease has many degenerative effects on the body, Alzheimer’s products that address safety concerns are important. Bath aids, to help individuals get safely in and out of the bathtub, are helpful. Home alarm systems can also help caregivers monitor when someone is entering or exiting the home. There are also telephones specially designed with pictures instead of numbers to make dialing easier.
As the disease progresses, simple daily tasks typically become increasingly difficult for those with Alzheimer’s. Buttoning clothing and tying shoelaces, for instance, often become more challenging. Using shirts and shoes that fasten with with Velcro® tabs can be helpful for such people. There are also products that help at meal-times, like plates that stick to the table with suction cups or cups with lids to prevent spills.
Finding the Alzheimer’s products that fit specific needs is generally easy. There are many websites dedicated to supplying these items. Many can also be found in medical supply and specialty stores.