Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia. When is it time to get help?

Asking for help might feel like a sign of weakness or a lack of caring, but it shows strength. It means the caregivers know their limits and when to seek support.

As patients move through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease, they will need more and more care. The main reason is that Alzheimer’s is a progressive and incurable disease. We can only control symptoms, but some of them, such as memory loss and confusion, will only worsen over time.

Asking for help might feel like a sign of weakness or a lack of caring, but it cannot be farther from the truth. Asking for help shows strength. It means the caregivers know their limits and when to seek support. For example, it may be easier to give care by driving the patient to doctor’s appointments or cooking a few meals. But if the patient’s needs will become more physical, such as lifting, bathing, or dressing, over time.

Family caregiver’s health issues

Stress is a common issue among caregivers. Sometimes they don’t take care of themself because they are busy caring for a loved one. Anxiety is expected under these conditions, but here are some symptoms to monitor:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Little to no energy

  • Getting sad or angry easily

  • Little interest in things that used to make you happy

  • Headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems

  • Weight gain or loss

If you are a caregiver and feel stressed or sick, you should seek the assistance of a fully equipped agency.

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Who gets to decide when to get help?

Sometimes, the patients can decide whether to move into a care facility. If they are still capable, then they should make their own decision. However, in most cases, by the time the patient needs that level of care, they have lost the ability to make this decision themselves.

If the patient cannot decide, a family member or power of attorney must make it for them. A person with dementia may not have a power of attorney because their memory started to fade before making the proper arrangements. Therefore, the decision should ideally be made between health and social care professionals and next of kin or those close to the patient.

Whoever makes the decision must always consider the patient’s best interests.

Nurse helping patient eat food

Tips for everyday care

Early in Alzheimer’s, people experience changes in thinking, remembering, and reasoning, affecting daily life and activities. Eventually, they will need more help with simple, everyday tasks. Here are some tips to consider as the disease progresses:

  • Establish a daily routine. Some activities are more manageable when they have a set schedule. Have some flexibility for spontaneous activities on difficult days.
  • Provide a few choices daily, but pick manageable ones, like choosing between two outfits or preferring hot or cold beverages.
  • Be aware that tasks might take longer, so schedule more time than expected.
  • Involve the patient. Allow them to do as much as possible with the slightest assistance. You are letting them maintain a feeling of independence.
  • Avoid prolonged or multiple naps throughout the day as a daily routine.
  • Provide simple instructions. Patients with dementia best understand clear, one-step communication.
  • Reduce distractions like TV, radio, or other devices at mealtime and during conversations to make it easier for the patient to focus.
  • Create a safe environment. Prevent falls, use locks, check water temperature, and take fire safety precautions.

Some caregivers need help when a patient with Alzheimer’s disease is in the early stages. Others look for support when the person is in the later stages. Whenever you need it, it’s okay to ask for help. Our registered and skilled nurses will be happy to assist with every need you or your family may have.

At Signature, we are committed to effectively caring for all our patients. As a result, we can assist you whether you need a little or extended help.

Call Signature 24/7 at 1 (800) 277-8291 for excellence in skilled and compassionate home health care.

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