3 Ways To Improve The Daily Caregiving Of Alzheimer’s Patients

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Communicating Effectively With An Alzheimer’s Patient

Successfully communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient requires a whole different approach than most people are used to. Logic and reasoning in those with Alzheimer’s has been severely compromised; following conversations and listening becomes very difficult, and even the simplest statements cannot be comprehended. One of the most important things to remember is that Alzheimer’s patients are very good at reading body language and whatever cues they are getting from you can influence how they speak and act. So, a caregiver should do their best to always convey a demeanor that suggests calm and ease.

This is unlikely to be easy, but it can make communication go much more smoothly. Speaking in a gentle and calm voice and never approach a person from behind are also important. Communicating with a patient at eye level or lower can put the person at ease. Speaking in short, simple sentences is important especially when giving instructions. Also, keeping distractions to a minimum is important so when speaking with the person, a caregiver should ensure there is no TV, radio or other noise.

Managing Hallucinations and Delusions

Handling delusion is a particularly challenging aspect for caregivers helping those with Alzheimers. No matter how absurd a delusion or hallucination may seem to a logical mind, it is very real to the person with this disease. Appealing to logic and reason is futile, though for a frustrated caregiver, this may be the approach they first choose. But, caregivers must remember that they are dealing with a ‘’broken’’ brain and that telling the person that something is not real or not true will not help the situation.

If the person feels afraid, a caregiver can comfort them. Barring any danger to themselves or others, going along with the hallucination may be a harmless option. If the person with Alzheimer’s claims that they saw someone breaking into a neighbor’s home, telling the person tha the police were called and that they will take care of it might defuse the situation. Redirecting attention is often an effective strategy. As well, because a person with Alzheimer’s has an inability to distinguish fantasy and reality, it may be a good idea to limit television programming that is violent or has other disturbing elements.

Conclusions

While caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is going to be a serious challenge, learning ways to effectively manage the person can reduce some of the frustration and stress that is frequently associated with the illness.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has blogged about a variety of topics related to elder care from evaluating Chicago senior care planning facilities to tips for caregivers.

Related Links

http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/caregiver-guide#.UnmuoieGexw
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-caregiver/HO00125
http://www.helpguide.org/elder/alzheimers_disease_dementias_caring_caregivers.htm

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Category: General Health

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