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World Alzheimer's Day: 21 tips for taking care of Alzheimer's patients at home

September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day. Read, Like and Share if you CARE!

Written by Editorial Team |Published : September 21, 2017 10:37 AM IST

Alzheimer's disease, a disease of elderly, is a relentless disease with catastrophic consequences not only for the patient but also for the family. It is frightening because once it starts it has no definite treatment and it is relentless in its progression. Medicines available currently offer only some help. Once diagnosed, the patients generally die of its various consequences/complications within 8-10 years. Death may be due to pneumonia, nutrition deficiency or even due to a high-risk behaviour of the patients wandering into dangerous situations. On the occasion of World Alzheimer's day on 21st September, Dr Pranav Kumar, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi lists a few tips on how a caregiver can ensure proper care and support to Alzheimer's patients.

  1. Take a walk with him; this simple exercise is good for him. Walking, daily yoga sessions and exercise can reduce the impact of this disease.
  2. It is a good idea to put an ID bracelet, or something similar on his body detailing his name, address and contact numbers of relatives.
  3. Phone numbers of close family members/friends displayed near every phone/bed especially in the earlier stage of the disease.
  4. They should have food, including plenty of fruits & vegetables. Here is a simple nutrition guide for patients with Alzheimer s disease.
  5. Attention should also be paid to personal hygiene especially perineum, groin, armpits and feet.
  6. Make the house safe as you would do for a young child. Make it uncluttered lack of coordination may make the person unsteady.
  7. Avoid footwear which has a smooth sole, get an anti-skid footwear.
  8. It is advisable to install hand-grips in a washroom. Washroom door-knobs should be such that they can be opened from outside in case of emergency.
  9. Insecticides, mosquito-repellents, household cleaners or such corrosives should be stored safely.
  10. Reset the thermostat of the geyser to about 450 C to avoid burns. Cover-up all unused electrical wall outlets.
  11. Patients with Alzheimer get easily confused. Large mirrors may confuse them. Limit the size and number of mirrors at home.
  12. One may paste bright-coloured, anti-skid tapes at the edges of steps. They find it easier to differentiate levels if these are in different colour. Simple, bright-coloured picture-labels can be put across doors of bathroom or bedroom.
  13. Try to install at least two switches to shut off cooking gas supply to the burner.
  14. Secure lighters/match-boxes. Secure all appliances which may get very hot iron, burner, microwave, hair-dryer etc.
  15. A smoke detector in a kitchen may be installed if possible patients of Alzheimer may have very poor sense of smell. They may also confuse the smell of toiletries/cosmetics with that of food items; they should be kept secured. Here are 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer s disease.
  16. Pad all sharp corners of furniture. Sharp or pointed objects hair-pins, nail-cutters, scissors, knives, screw-drivers should be kept safely.
  17. Check and remove stale food from the refrigerator.
  18. They may also have a problem with other senses hearing and taste. Noise may distract them; avoid it.
  19. All medicines and alcoholic drinks must be stored securely.
  20. Regular medical check-up must not get neglected. Patients with Alzheimer's may also be having other medical diseases hypertension, diabetes etc. The caregiver should ensure the patient gets these regularly.
  21. In late stages, a full-time nursing assistant may be required to take care of the person. They may require diapers in later stages. Also, read can Alzheimer s disease be prevented?

Image Source: Shutterstock

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