Alzheimer's Care at Home

By Brenda Enright

Getting the life-changing diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be unsettling for most individuals and their families. The idea of slowly losing the ability to communicate and think for oneself is not easy to accept. Thinking about the appropriate next steps may seem daunting, and the desire for aging in place may feel like an unobtainable goal. It does not have to be this way. There is hope when you enlist the services of home care professionals for your loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Steps to Caring for an Individual with Alzheimer's at Home

It's possible to let your aging loved one remain at home even with Alzheimer's disease throwing a kink in the plans. It starts with reviewing your options. Then you want to keep communication lines open, followed by building a daily routine.  

1. Consider the Options of In-Home Alzheimer's Care

When your family's goal is to let Mom or Dad remain at home, many questions and fears may surface. Who will be responsible for taking Dad to his doctor appointments? Will I have to quit my job to stay with Mom? In-home senior care is a viable option that provides many different services based on the needs of your family, including:

  • Companionship: Sometimes, it is helpful to have a friendly face around for supervision and activities.
  • Personal Care: For those times when Mom needs a little extra help with bathing, dressing, eating, or other personal care needs.
  • Light Housekeeping: Dad can get assistance with shopping, preparing meals, and keeping the house neat and tidy.
  • Alzheimer's and Chronic Illness Care: Get tailored Alzheimer's care for your ailing mom's needs.

A good first step towards finding the right caregiver for your senior is to list the different areas you need help with. Then, start asking for referrals and interview agencies. As you work through this process, it is most helpful to see what your loved one wants. Communication can be a little frustrating through the stages of Alzheimer’s but learning how to communicate with your aging parent will make it possible to get the best service.

Keep reading to learn more about In-Home Alzheimer's Care

2. Learn How to Communicate with a Parent Who has Alzheimer's

Throughout the different stages of Alzheimer's, you will quickly learn that the affected individual’s communication ability will sometimes change drastically. One day, you will be able to carry on a conversation with your father. The next day, he appears to be a completely different person. As the disease progresses, you will need to adapt your communication style. You will notice that Dad struggles to find the right words or repeats himself frequently. Eventually, he will speak less often and resort to gestures versus words. Each stage has its own degrees of communication difficulties, such as:

  • Early Stage (Mild Alzheimer's): This stage is marked by the individual's ability to participate in meaningful conversations. That means Mom and you can have chats, but she may occasionally struggle to find words.
  • Middle Stage (Moderate Alzheimer's): This may be the longest stage as it can last many years. Your dad will struggle more and more with communicating and need more hands-on care.
  • Late Stage (Severe Alzheimer's): Mom or Dad may struggle with this stage for as little as a few weeks to several years. They will rely on nonverbal communication. This means your face will speak more than your words.

All stages require patience on your part. There may be times of incredible frustration. Building daily routines is another way to lessen frustration for you and your parent. That is where hiring the services of an in-home caregiver can make the difference. You will have someone available to aid your senior, giving you more time and the opportunity to be a loving daughter or son.

Read more about Communication Techniques for Individuals with Alzheimer’s

3. Build a Daily Routine for Your Senior's Success

We all thrive with daily routines. Even if you do not believe you need one, you may quickly find you have certain ways of doing things if you think about your morning. They are so automatic that your whole day may be thrown off when you don't follow it. The same thing happens with people who have Alzheimer's. Losing your ability to communicate is scary. Regular routines offer comfort because they will reduce frustration for both of you. With a few tips, you can be on your way to building a routine that satisfies you both when you:

  • Schedule around Your Loved One's Rhythm: If Dad has always been an early bird, it will be much easier to get him to bathe in the morning versus the evening.
  • Remember to Move Slow: It's helpful to understand that things will now take longer, so plan accordingly.
  • Involve Your Loved One: Let Mom button her own shirt or make her own toast while she can. This helps her feel independent and builds her confidence.

As a caregiver, you have your work cut out for you, but you do not have to do it all alone. Find help through a professional caregiver that can help your loved one.

Read more about Building a Daily Routine for Individuals with Alzheimer’s

4. Determine to Help Reduce Your Senior's Risk of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is a tough one to live with. While there is not a cure, you may be able to mitigate the risks with the cooperation of your senior. Research is ongoing, but your loved one could greatly benefit from reducing their risk factors in the meantime. Here are a few areas to start with:

  • Start or Keep Up on Exercise: Regular exercise may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and it does help with cognitive problems. Exercising is good for seniors in many ways to keep your brain healthy and improve balance and coordination, too.
  • Remain Social: Seniors can suffer from depression when they become and remain isolated. Interacting with others aids in protecting against some symptoms of the disease, as well as reducing depression.
  • Eat Right: Some studies indicate that diabetes may put a person at risk of Alzheimer's. Eating well to prevent or reduce the effect of diabetes is an excellent place to start.

A personal senior care aide can be part of the process of reducing your senior's risk of Alzheimer's by ensuring they eat nutritious meals and get adequate exercise.

Read more about How to Help Your Senior Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s

Choose Home Instead to Help Your Senior Age in Place, Even with Alzheimer's

Overcome the Alzheimer's threat to your loved ones' ability to remain at home for as long as possible. Choose to work with a trained caregiver from Home Instead Mississauga. Our team is dedicated to assisting you and your family with services tailored to your unique situation. You don't have to work alone when you have one of our caring staff supporting your loved one. To learn more, please contact us today.  

Call us at (905) 276-2273 to schedule a no-obligation, in-home consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality senior care we deliver, every day, to families in All Mississauga including: Clarkson, Cooksville, Dixie, Erin Mills, Erindale, Lakeview, Lorne Park, Port Credit, Sheridan, Streetsville.

You may be also interested in: Safe Exercises for Seniors with Alzheimer’s | September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month | Types of Dementia

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