Dealing with Alzheimers: 5 Ways for Carers to Make Their Lives a Little Easier

Alzheimers medical alert braceletsThe prospect of Alzheimers disease is terrifying for anyone, but for a carer who is caring for a loved one as their illness progresses, the process can be heartbreaking. There are an estimated 342,800 people living with dementia in Australia today, and around 1.2 million people directly involved in the care of an Alzheimers sufferer.

This means that over 5% of Australia’s population is directly affected by this disease, and this figure is only increasing. While there is no cure for Alzheimers, there are ways to make the life of a carer that little bit easier, allowing them to focus on spending quality time with their loved one.

Make a Plan

Alzheimers is a progressive illness which gets worse over time. This transition can take years, but it is vital to form a rigourous plan of action during the disease’s early stages. Get together with friends and family and discuss the logistics of providing the required care, as well as assessing your budget and making arrangements for a nurse or healthcare professional.

It can be difficult to discuss things like power of attorney at a time like this, but making strong legal provisions will give you more freedom to enjoy quality time with your loved one later on down the line.

Purchase a Medical Alert Bracelet

As Alzheimers progresses, it chiefly affects communication abilities and memory, making it difficult for Alzheimers sufferers to convey their medical requirements to doctors or hospital staff in the event of an emergency. Purchasing a medical alert bracelet will eliminate the fear that your loved one might not receive the emergency care they need, and will provide valuable peace of mind to the carer.

These bracelets carry vital medical information – via a built-in USB, scannable QR code, inscription, or a combination of all three – and help to ensure that the wearer receives timely and high-quality care.

Communicate Effectively

While watching a loved one develop Alzheimers is a heartbreaking experience, it is also a frustrating and frightening experience for the sufferer. To maintain bonds of love and trust between you and your loved one, it is important to communicate with them effectively.

By speaking slowly, using simple and closed questions and by repeating statements if required, you can continue to communicate and have a relationship with your loved one. If your loved one asks you a difficult question – regarding the whereabouts of a long-dead family member or spouse, for example – break the information to them gently, and use gentle lies or half-truths if required.

Maintaining a relationship in this way ensures that you can continue to spend quality time together, even as the condition progresses.

Form a Daily Routine

Patients with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to remember their surroundings or even the people they meet on a daily basis. Forming a daily routine based around meal-times, visiting-times and activity-times helps them to process and remember the information they receive, allowing your loved one to continue living a normal life for as long as possible.

However, it is important to vary the activities that you do with your loved one. Many patients with advanced cases of Alzheimer’s need to rebuild memories they formerly had, so by varying daily activities you can help your loved one redevelop or rediscover memories they may have lost.

Alzheimers Benefits from Sensory Stimuli Variation

It is also advisable to vary the sensory stimuli that your loved one receives. The human brain connects memories to senses, and so exposing an Alzheimer’s sufferer to different kinds of sensory stimuli can help to trigger dormant memories or even rebuild lost ones.

Let them smell flowers that they used to like when they were younger, or listen to music from their wedding. The more your loved one remembers, the happier you both will be, and the difficult process of caring for an Alzheimers sufferer will become that little bit easier.

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