Alzheimer’s and dementia are devastating diseases that progress slowly and take your loved one away with it. When caring for a loved one with these diseases, each day can be a challenge, and new issues appear. What your loved one could once do easily, they can no longer do easily or sometimes not even do at all.
As these diseases progress, conversation with your loved one may become more and more difficult. It may be difficult to understand them and for them to follow you. You will need to use a calm and gentle tone, short words and simple sentences. Don’t use baby talk as if you’re talking to a child; this is demeaning to them. It will help too if you minimize noise and distractions so the person can entirely focus on what you’re saying.
Be sure to call the person by their name and make sure they are entirely focused on you before you start to talk. Always allow enough time for the person to digest what you’ve said and for them to give a response back. If the person is having a difficult time trying to find the word they want to say, you can try to help provide them with the word you think they’re trying to say. When asking questions or giving your loved one instructions, offer them in a positive, upbeat way.
Incontinence can be a side effect of both Alzheimer’s and dementia. Your loved one may begin to lose the ability to control their bowels or their bladder. This can upset the person, and it can be difficult for you to deal with as well. However, sometimes incontinence can be caused by a physical illness so be sure to have that possibility ruled out.
To help with incontinence if Alzheimer’s or dementia causes it, keep your loved on a schedule and stay as close to it as possible. Be alert for signs that the person may have to go to the bathroom, and these signs could be pulling at their clothing or being restless. Respond quickly if you think they have to go to the bathroom but, if an accident does occur, be understanding. Try to keep track of when the accidents do happen so you can help to avoid them. By limiting fluids before bed, it can help to prevent nighttime accidents.
When it becomes too much
No matter how much you love your loved one, there may come a time when you can’t give them the care they need. They may become aggressive, be prone to wandering or suffer hallucinations, delusions or mood swings. At this point, where you feel you can’t give them the care they need, you may want to look into other alternatives. Assisted living is one of these alternatives. Your loved one would receive the care which is required in an environment which is developed for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Taking care of your loved one is a challenging job, but it can also be a rewarding one.