eldercare

How to Properly Care for an Alzheimers Patient

Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that affects cognitive functioning when an abnormal buildup of fragmented protein clusters impede neurological activates in the brain which cause memory, thinking and behavioral problems. Properly caring for an Alzheimer’s patient requires maintaining a daily routine, for both the caregiver and patient.

Daily Care

At some point in time Alzheimer’s patients will need help with bathing, brushing their teeth, getting dressed and even combing their hair. However, because these are very personal activities, patients will often resist assistance due to embarrassment or being angry because they can no longer care for themselves.

Bathing

Helping Alzheimer’s patients to bath is perhaps the most difficult job for caregivers, but planning ahead can help make bath time easier.

  • Follow the patient’s general bathing habits and schedule, such as taking the bath or shower in the AM or PM.
  • Always check the temperature of the water.
  • Install a hand-held showerhead.
  • Place a rubber mat or safety strips in the tub or shower.
  • Use a sturdy shower chair to support the patient.
  • Never leave a frail or confused patient alone in the tub or shower.

Dressing

Alzheimer’s patients usually require extra time to get dressed, as it can be hard for them to pick out the proper clothing and may choose improper clothing for the season. However, allow the patient to dress alone for as long as possible. Here are a few tips:

  • Lay out the patient’s clothes in the order the garments will be put on, such as undergarments, pants and shirt, sweater, etc.
  • Keep most of the patient’s clothes in another room in order to reduce the amount of choices and keep only a couple of outfits in the bedroom closet or dresser.
  • Buy multiple sets of the same outfit if the patient insists on wearing the same clothing every day.
  • Velcro fasteners on clothing are easier for Alzheimer’s patients to fasten than buttons and laces.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Consuming healthy foods is very important for Alzheimer’s patients, as there is some evidence that well-balanced diet may have a positive effect on symptoms.

  • Serve green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and wholegrain breads and cereals.
  • Make certain to serve foods the patient likes and is able to eat.

If an early-stage Alzheimer’s patient lives alone:

  • Buy foods that do not need to be cooked or that require minimal preparation.
  • Call to remind the patient to eat.

In the early stage of Alzheimer’s the patient’s eating habits usually won’t change, but when changes do happen it may not be safe for the patient to continue to live alone. Watch for these signs:

  • The patient forgets to eat.
  • Food is burned because it was forgotten on the stove.
  • The stove or oven was left on.

Activity and Exercise

Being active helps Alzheimer’s patients to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Alzheimer’s patients should be encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves, but you must also make sure that the patient is safe during activities.

  • Dress the patient in comfortable, well-fitting clothes and shoes suitable for exercising.
  • Walk or bike with the patient each day, going as far as the patient feels comfortable.
  • Use rubber exercise bands to maintain muscle tone.
  • Have the patient drink water or juice after exercise.
  • Patients should wear an ID bracelet with contact phone number if they are mentally stable enough to go out alone.

Some Alzheimer’s patients may not be able to move around well enough to exercise, and this can become a greater challenge as the disease progresses due to:

  • Lack of endurance.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Sore or weak muscles.
  • Depression and/or a general lack of interest.

Even patients who experience trouble walking any distance may still be able to execute exercises around the home, such as:

  • Riding a stationary exercise bike.
  • Tossing a lightweight rubber ball between you.

Learn more at http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

Alzheimer’s is perhaps the most frightening disease known, but there is hope for the millions of sufferers of this horrible disease.

Concerns with memory loss

There are many medical problems associated with memory loss, and its symptoms. Most of these can be easily treated by simply changing a medication, or lifestyle. A few of the most common problems are;

  • Depression or Stress: This is one of the most common problems related to memory loss. In most stress related cases, a simple lifestyle change can make all of the difference. Depression can be alleviated by seeing a professional and getting the proper treatment, either through lifestyle change, or medication.
  • Thyroid problems: One of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism is memory loss. Your physician should test for this malady before starting treatment for Alzheimer’s.
  • Medication: Patients can have many side effects from medication, and you should tell your physician when experiencing memory loss. It is surprising how many medications have this side effect, and frightened patients, can be misdiagnosed as having dementia, or Alzheimer’s, if a new physician is not alerted to the patient taking this medication.

Although there are many other physical, or mental, related malady’s that can bring on memory loss, your physician can determine most problems by asking the right questions and performing some simple tests.

Where to seek treatment

Seeking treatment should begin with your family physician. Most of us do not have regular checkups with our family doctor, and when we do, we seldom feel that we have time to do more than answer basic questions during the checkup. Your doctor is there for you. At the first sign of memory loss it is imperative that your doctor is alerted to this change and begins testing for early onset of Alzheimer’s. There are many reasons for memory loss other than Alzheimer’s but it better to be safe than sorry, because early detection, is the best way to slow the progression of this disease. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist, who has access to current treatments, and clinical studies, related to the disease.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are many treatments now available to alleviate the symptoms, and prolong functionality. Research has made great strides, and new medications are found every day, to increase the quality of life, for those with this disease. There are many support centers available for patients with Alzheimer’s ranging from home care to nursing facilities all over the world, to aid in maintaining independence, and alerting patients to new procedures, as they become available.

Protection_from_Alzheimer_Listice

Source: AD Canada

Known as a more severe form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a mental disease that most often results in death and is characteristic of the overall worsening from the start. The disease is named so after Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist who was the first to explain the context of the disease. Although when the disease was first discovered the most common symptoms were mistaken to be associated with stress after further research was conducted it was later determined that the disease caused issues regarding short-term memory. This article will discuss some of the characteristics including:

  • Causes
  • Prevention
  • Management

Characteristics

Alzheimer’s disease can best be characterized by the four phases it is divided into These phases consist of their own symptoms and are different for each stage of the disease. While all the symptoms of AD eventually cause an overall shutdown of all ability to speak or remember certain tasks and events other stages are lessened but still traumatic. The pre-dementia phase consists of a person having issues in planning, being flexible, and even paying attention. However, in the early stages of AD the most common symptoms are brought on through a person’s inability to remember appointments, confusion, and more. Later stages involves memory and confusion getting worse as well as speech impairment and no self-awareness.

Causes

Although there is no solidified scientific evidence that points to what causes Alzheimer’s disease there are more than a few theories that have been said to exist over the years. The most common causes of these theories have been presented in the form of various hypothesis that state there are variations that trigger the disease through chromosomes found in the brain. Furthermore, other causes have been said to be caused by the brain’s ability to age. Stress, was once believed to be a common cause as well, however, this hypothesis was presented when there was little known about Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevention

Given the fact that all the causes stated above are more scientific theories instead of solidified evidence there are preventative measures that can be taken in an effort to at least minimize or slow the disease. While these measures are not an ultimate cure (no known way to cure)evidence suggests, although inconsistent, that there are ways to help. One of the biggest preventative measures that can be taken in fighting off AD is staying away from medications that have side effects that are closely related to the high risk of Alzheimer like symptoms. Remaining intellectually engaged by reading, or doing other mind stimulated activities is the most important way.

AD Management

As stated in the above there is no clear cure or specific medication that will reduce or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease there are medications that has been shown to have minimal benefits in terms of cognitive treatments. Furthermore, another method that has been known to be used are those that involve pyscho-social intervention, a method that focuses on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of AD. This helps more with dementia (a pre Alzheimer form) and even though there is no available evidence that concludes its consistent results the ultimate goal is to head off the onslaught of AD through retraining the brain and ever other association that is attacked.

In conclusion, it has been said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. While there is minimal studies and research available for further research to the cause, prevention, management, and cure of this disease has it currently stands the only real way that is known to avoiding alzheimer’s disease is to keep the mind in an intellectual state by reading, playing games, and doing similar related tasks fir mental stimulation. However, for anybody who is, in some way, dealing with this disease the managing the disease can be done through certain retraining techniques and treatments that tailor to the behavioral and emotional aspects.

Symptoms-Alzheimer

A certain amount of forgetfulness comes along with advancing age. Walking into a room and forgetting why or forgetting where you put your glasses/car keys/coat/etc is quite normal, that type of forgetfulness is normal and even happens to us when we’re young. Therefore just because you or someone you love forgets something occasionally it doesn’t mean the onset of Alzheimer’s. But there are certain symptoms that Alzheimer’s does display and catching these early warning signs and getting an early diagnosis and treatment can help slow down the progression of the brain disease.

Forgetfulness

Not the common type of occasionally forgetful we all experience, but a type of forgetfulness that disrupts everyday life and or places someone in danger, like forgetting to turn the stove off or forgetting how to get back home after a shopping trip.

Inability to Solve Simple Problems

This early warning symptom of Alzheimer’s may show up when the person can’t seem to follow a familiar recipe, balance a checkbook or figure out which key on the key-ring unlocks their front door.

Difficulty with Familiar Tasks

Forgetting how to operate the vacuum cleaner, becoming confused over how to play a familiar game or displaying difficulty in doing any familiar tasks.

Confusion

Momentarily not knowing where they are or who you are is an early warning symptom of Alzheimer’s. The confusion will pass in moments during the early stages of the brain disease and may be chalked up to grogginess or medication, but if the confusion happens the second or third time, it’s time to see a doctor.

Vision Changes

This early warning symptoms of Alzheimer’s is frequently mistaken for macular degeneration or cataracts. In Alzheimer’s patients, vision changes cause the person to be unable to distinguish color, judge distance or have difficulty reading and driving.

Change is Vocabulary

A person with Alzheimer’s frequently is unable to find the right word(s) to say when trying to relay information. A chair may be called a seat, the bedroom may get re-named the back-room. An Alzheimer’s patient may also forget what they were talking about in mid-sentence and stop talking.

Losing Things

When things are frequently being lost and misplaced and the person can’t think where they seen the item last, it could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. Placing things in very unusual symptom. Misplacing items and accusing others of stealing those items is also a symptom.

places, like canned food in the refrigerator and clothes in the oven is also an early warning.

Poor Judgment 

Giving away a large sum of money or failure to dress properly when leaving home are two early warning symptoms of a person with Alzheimer’s. A person who has begun to make choices that are out-of-character for them may be heading down the Alzheimer’s road.

Become a Loner

If a normally active and social person becomes withdrawn, uninterested in work, hobbies or other activities and just wants to be alone, that’s an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

Upset and Suspicious 

A person with Alzheimer’s will undergo a personality change that will worsen as the brain disease progresses. Alzheimer’s causes people to be easily upset, confused and suspicious, often feeling like others are out-to-get them, stealing from them or in someway meaning them harm.