Taking Care of Adults with Alzheimer’s
Providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms can be extremely difficult due to their aggressive behavior, hallucinations and wandering, and sleeping and eating disorders. Some behavior problems may become worse if the patient is not a provided sound and healthy caring environment. Slight changes in the environment can encourage improved quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that gradually deteriorates a person’s cognitive capabilities. The disease starts with short term memory loss and leads to severe memory and behavior issues over time. As the disease advances, the person’s physical and mental condition declines which ultimately leads to death. While the speed of progression of the disease varies, the average life expectancy of the patient is three to nine years.
Common Behaviors in Alzheimer’s Patients
Since Alzheimer’s affects the person’s memory and cognition, these changes can alter their behavior.. At times the changes in behavior can be too severe that they may cause stress to the caregiver. Understanding various behaviors your loved ones may display, families can help in a more effective manner.
Extreme Anger and Violence
One of the major challenges for caregivers is coping with verbal or physical aggression. It is very important for you to remember that the person is not responsible for the aggression; rather, the disease is triggering the issue. As a caregiver, you cannot change their behavior but you can accommodate their behavior through effective communication.
When your loved one shows extreme anger or violence, try to know if the behavior is a reaction to any external condition. If so, resolve the problem that is triggering the discomfort or causing stress. Remember that it is not just the words that the patient pays attention to, rather, the eye contact, tone of voice, gentle touch and soft smile also show compassion and convey your message effectively.
Hallucinating and Fabricating Stories
Alzheimer’s patients may often hallucinate events that do not exist. Hallucinations can make the patient see, feel, hear, taste, or smell things that are not there. These delusions or false beliefs may sometimes involve ordinary visions of people, objects, or events from the past while other times they may be frightening and can lead to paranoia.
The caregiver can cope with the problem by responding in a calm and supportive manner. Sometimes, a gentle pat may distract the person and reduce the hallucination. Besides, some other methods like a walk, conversation, an engaging activity or music can be effective in reducing the delusional effect.
Leaving the House Unassisted
People with Alzheimer’s feel compelled to walk around and leave the home. Although walking may help them relieve the stress and feel refreshed, this can be worrying for family members. Since Alzheimer’s patients can often experience orientation issues, they may have difficulties in finding their way back to home.
It is important to find a solution that provides safety to the patient without affecting his/her independence and dignity. One possible solution is using a medical alert system which offers both independence and peace of mind for loved ones.
LifeBeacon Medical Alert System
LifeBeacon is an advanced medical alert system that delivers medical assistance in a quick and more responsive manner. With an average response time of 20 seconds, this system allows you to talk directly to the service operator through your emergency alert device and tell them what assistance you need.
The device does not require you to restrict your activities to a certain area. With no base station, it allows you the freedom to have coverage virtually anywhere.
In addition, real time tracking allows your family members to check your location through a GPS monitoring web portal. The geofence alert gives your family the peace of mind that once you are out of the set radius, they can receive an immediate alert.