Practical Advice for Everyday Care of Someone with Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is commonly thought of as involving merely memory loss. Unfortunately, its consequences extend far beyond merely forgetting where you left your keys. The disease impacts one’s ability to function normally in all areas of life and requires a great deal of dedication to maintenance on the part of caregivers.

Maintaining Physical Health  

On the one hand, certain exercise activities may become too difficult for the infirm Alzheimer’s patient to carry out. However, it is important for the Alzheimer’s caregiver to do whatever it takes to keep the patient physically and mentally healthy. This includes having a watchful eye, especially as the disease progresses, since the consequent mental deterioration may make the dementia patient progressively more difficult to identify and communicate potential sickness or injury.   

Sustaining A Meaningful Life  

It is important to make sure that life, for both the carer and the patient, consists of more than just performing daily necessities such as bathing, dressing and using the toilet; both individuals need to be able to enjoy life and find meaning in it. This will not only make life more enjoyable, but it will also significantly increase the well-being of the Alzheimer’s patient. In addition to physical exercise, it may be helpful to engage in gardening, singing or dancing, puzzles, games, quizzes, creative arts, crafts, food preparation or media and literature.

Assistance In Dressing  

Dressing may become difficult for individuals with dementia, especially as the disease progresses. Since dressing is a very personal and private activity, a great deal of tact and sensitivity is required by caregivers. First, it is important that the individual with dementia, when possible, be given his or her own choice in what to wear. It may be helpful for caregivers to make the patients’ favorite clothes accessible if they have a lot of clothes; this will prevent confusion or stress on the part of the individual with dementia. Finally, it is important to provide very simple steps in dressing if the individual with Alzheimer’s is struggling to properly put his or her clothes on.

Assistance In Eating  

Challenges may abound when it comes to food consumption. First, such individuals may not only forget to eat or drink, but they may also have difficulty communicating hunger and thirst. This may lead to unhealthy weight loss and dehydration. Unfortunately, the depression to which those with Alzheimer’s are susceptible may dramatically reduce appetite. To combat this, meals may look more appealing if they come with various tastes, colors and smells. This will stimulate them to hunger and make food more palatable.