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Alzheimer's Diseases: How To Take Care Of The Patient At Home

Alzheimer's Diseases: How To Take Care Of The Patient At Home

Dr Neeraj Agarwal, Consultant Neurosurgery, Manipal Hospitals, Ghaziabad, shares tips to take care of an Alzheimer's patient at home.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : September 25, 2022 1:01 PM IST

Alzheimer's is a disease that is slowly increasing at a drastic rate. It is a progressive disease that affects memory and destroys brain cells. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 10 million new cases of dementia are diagnosed each year, and there are already over 55 million people living with the disease worldwide. In the world today, Alzheimer's is one of the primary causes of disability and dependency among older people and the seventh largest cause of death among all diseases. Alzheimer's affects people physically, psychologically, socially, and economically. Alzheimer's is a disease that leads to gradual damage, starting with mild memory loss and progressing to the loss of communication. It is not only challenging for the patient but also for the whole family. TheHealthSite.com spoke to Dr Neeraj Agarwal, Consultant Neurosurgery, Manipal Hospitals, Ghaziabad, to understand a few things that a caretaker of an Alzheimer's patient should keep some things in mind. Here's what the doctor recommended:

Planning Engaging Activities

Caretakers of Alzheimer's patients can keep their loved ones active and interested by engaging them in the following everyday activities: Cooking and baking, walking, stretching, and mild weight training, dancing, playing a basic board game, travelling to a favourite restaurant, museum, or park, seeing a movie, and visiting with friends and family can make a patient feel lively again. Some people may feel their best in the morning, others may feel more alive and awake at night. While going out, one can monitor the person's energy levels and return home before they become overtired.

Encourage And Support With Short-Term Memory

Initially, the patient may need prompts and assistance to help with tasks such as handling bills and money, making appointments, remembering words or names, or keeping track of medications. Instead of doing everything for the patient, encourage them and try to cooperate so that they feel independent. Help them when they need help remembering a word. Also, encourage them to write reminders on notepads or on their phone to remember them.

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Take care of their eating habits

One must try adjusting the meals for a person to check the nutrition they require and maintain a healthy weight. It is seen that some Alzheimer's patients struggle to consume enough calories and minerals while others constantly crave food.

  1. One should let a person choose what they want to eat. Try to offer them exciting dishes with a variety of flavours, textures, and colours.
  2. Try giving them smaller meals throughout the day.
  3. Try giving a bowl rather than a plate if the person has problems using utensils, or provide utensils with thicker, simpler-to-grasp handles.

Try to make a secure environment

Alzheimer's affects judgement and problem-solving abilities, which raises the risk of injury to a person. To encourage safety, one must ensure:

  1. Ensure to check the temperature of the water to avoid burns.
  2. One must take precautions to avoid fire. Try to keep lighters and matches out of the reach. If Alzheimer's patient smokes, always keep an eye on them. A fire extinguisher should be within reach. Try having functioning batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  3. Avoid falling. Prevent falls by avoiding scatter rugs, extension cords, and any other debris. Install grab bars or railings in high-traffic areas.
  4. One must install locks on any cabinets in the house that has items like medicines, alcohol, firearms, poisonous cleaning products, and potentially hazardous utensils and tools.
  5. Keep a check that items are not cluttered here and there. Items should be kept in place for the patients to avoid any type of injury.

Patience and flexibility are important

One may overcome the difficulties and burnout by being patient and flexible, taking care of yourself, and receiving support from friends and family. In the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia, feelings of rage, frustration, disbelief, grief, denial, and fear are frequent for both the patient and the caregiver. You should allow a patient to share their feelings, and then urge them to keep engaging in things that give their lives more meaning and purpose.

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