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Saturday, October 3, 2009

MayoClinic.com | Alzheimer's care: Practical tips

Alzheimer's care: Practical tips: In Depth - MayoClinic.com
Alzheimer's care is a tough job. These practical tips can make it easier.
By Mayo Clinic staff

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, your loved one may still be able to perform the daily tasks that allow a person to live and function independently. These abilities dwindle as the disease progresses.
Reduce frustrations

A person with Alzheimer's may react with frustration, agitation and even aggression when once-automatic tasks become difficult or impossible. Try these suggestions to limit the challenges and ease the frustration.

* Schedule wisely. Determine the time of day when your loved one is most calm and agreeable. Schedule the most difficult tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, for that time period. Established routines help make the day more predictable and less confusing.
* Let him or her help. Involve your loved one in tasks as much as possible. Perhaps your husband can shave himself if you turn on the electric razor and put it in his hand. Maybe your wife can dress herself if you lay out the clothes in the order they go on.
* Limit choices. Having fewer options makes deciding easier. For example, provide two outfits to choose between — not a closet full of clothes. Reduce distractions at mealtimes or during conversations so that your loved one can better focus on one thing at a time.
* Take more time. Expect things to take longer than they used to. Schedule more time to complete even simple tasks so that you don't need to hurry your loved one. Provide instructions one step at a time.