- By Daniel Smith
- Published 06/26/2012
When the elderly individual you need to take care of has a progressive illness like Alzheimer’s, you need to plan this carefully. Taking care of an individual with any form of Dementia can be an exhaustive and overwhelming task for a caregiver, both physically and psychologically. The question is – how do you handle the care responsibilities of such a patient? Understanding the illness is essential before you plan this.
Dementia covers a group of illnesses characterised by a progressive decline in the personality of the elderly individual and reduction in their physical and psychological capabilities. The elderly individuals affected by these illnesses often do not have any insight into their condition. However, this incapability affects their confidence and self-esteem. Opting for professional home care provider may be a good option in such a situation.
As the illness progresses, the individual loses their ability to handle even the simplest of tasks. Every situation is different and there are no hard and fast rules regarding how these elderly individuals behave. While some become agitated and angry, others become passive and depressed. Handling the care responsibilities on your own may not be possible in such circumstances. Here are a few points that may be of help.
Provide a safe living environment for the elderly individual. Modify your home, or that of the elderly individual, to ensure that it is safe and secure. Install a ramp in place of stairs, install handrails, install low light fixtures throughout the house for night time use, remove trailing cables and wires, and take any other steps necessary for this. This would prevent slips, trips and falls, common reasons for injuries among elderly individuals.
Plan the day. Taking one step at a time often helps in such situations. Try to maintain a routine regarding daily tasks; however, make sure it is flexible to provide adequate opportunity to the elderly family member to handle tasks on their own. Note down doctor’s appointments, time for medications, and such other details. This ensures that you do not miss out the important tasks in the hassles involved in taking care of the elderly individual
Let the elderly individual do things on his/her own. Make sure the elderly individual you are taking care of is involved in the daily activities of regular life. Dementia affects an individual’s capability to handle even a simple task like brushing their teeth. If necessary, show them how to do it. Allow more time to complete these tasks. Do not confuse them with numerous choices, as the capability of decision-making decreases with this illness.
Get help from the right people. With time, the responsibilities may become too much for the primary caregiver. You need to rest as well. In such a circumstance, you need to enlist help from other family members. It may also be a good idea to appoint a caregiver from an agency specialising in providing Alzheimers care. These professional caregivers have the necessary qualification, training and experience to handle the care of such patients.
Planning ahead is the key to success when you need to handle the care responsibilities of an elderly individual suffering from any form of Dementia.
Daniel Smith has long been associated with a service providing elderly home help.
If you are planning to handle the care responsibilities of an elderly individual with Dementia on your own or planning to appoint carers Ireland for this, he suggests you visit http://www.comfortkeepers.ie/for more details.