It can be extremely difficult to have an aging family member in your house, or even closely. They are more demanding, childlike and require greater care and attention. There is the compounded misery and guilt of having to watch them age and pass on right in front of your eyes with little you can do to help. This is a natural phenomenon which one has to come to terms with. It can, however, be increasingly troubling if the senior has failing health and faces troubles, both physical and mental.
Alzheimer’s disease is fairly common among senior members, and it is not rare to find someone in your family suffers from it. If you have someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you must make sure you know enough about it to know how to deal with them. Here is some helpful advice on
* You must know that a person who has Alzheimer’s disease cannot be left alone. Later stages in the ailment, this is highly dangerous. It is best to make it a practice to ensure that there is some attendant around the patient. There is a tendency to leave taps on, go dangerously close to live wires, leave the gas on, or the iron unattended. Understand that the member is no longer capable of fending for himself, and allow
* Make sure the house is safe. The patient may leave the front door open, step out of the house not knowing where he is going, or be disoriented enough to lose sight of the
perspective of being outdoors as opposed to having to stay at home. You will notice strong signs of the patient becoming agitated, restless or utterly dejected at the prospect of being left alone, so make sure there is someone around when you have to get things done.
* Alzheimer’s care requires tremendous patience. Make sure that you have everything in place and a plan ready. This will help you deal with the patient better, and also give you a sense of balance and control. It is best to have a routine so that the patient also has a feeling of familiarity and understands what is going on. A structured schedule will also make sure that all chores for the day are completed. Put all the necessary belongings close at hand, and see that they are left in the same places all the time so that the patient can associate with them.
* Try and empower the patient. This is extremely therapeutic. Allow them some small tasks, even though insignificant. Make sure there is nothing hazardous associated with it, and indulge your senior occasionally. This will also give them a sense of fulfillment.
You must remember, most importantly, that even though the patient may eventually not recognize you or take full cognisance of what you are doing, they attach importance to it at some level. If you take the time to be with them, be around them, involve them and help them feel wanted, you will notice that they appreciate what is being done. There can be nothing more gratifying than having an Alzheimer’s patient smile when you take the trouble for them.