Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia—brain disorders that induce a progressive loss of cognitive function, such as memory, speech, and intellectual and social skills. Many people with Alzheimer’s choose in-home elder care providers, like Aunt Ann’s Home Care, to help them manage their disease. Our in-home caregivers care for clients and their families who are dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis. If you or a loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, the information below can give you insight into the symptoms and how to manage your condition at home.
What to Expect:
Alzheimer’s disease tends to progress slowly but steadily. As the disease progresses, it goes through a series of stages. Patients can expect:
- Minor, barely noticeable, lapses in memory (early stage)
- Noticeable cognitive decline
- Problems coming up with a person’s name or the right word for objects
- Difficulty functioning in social settings
- Misplacing important objects with increased frequency
- Becoming more forgetful of recent events or personal details
- Moodiness and social withdrawal
- Inability to recall key details about one’s personal history or personal contact information
- Disorientation—reduced awareness of surroundings
- Difficulty recognizing close family members (spouses, children, etc.)
- Increased restlessness or agitation in the evenings, also known as sundowning
In the final stages of Alzheimer’s, communication will be extremely limited, and basic functions will begin to shut down. At this point, round-the-clock care is required.
Home Care for Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s is a difficult and often challenging disease for both the person with the disease and for family members and loved ones. However, it is possible for Alzheimer’s patients to live and manage their disease at home with the help of Aunt Ann’s home care services.
Our qualified, professional caregivers can provide hourly or live-in care for clients with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, Aunt Ann’s certified home health aides and certified nurse’s aides can provide services such as:
- Personal hygiene care (grooming, bathing, etc.)
- Toileting assistance
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housekeeping assistance
- Disease monitoring (identifying and reporting symptoms that need attention)
Talking to Your Doctor:
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is important to work closely with your or your loved one’s physician in order to prepare for the changes ahead and develop a care and medication plan. You’re also likely to have many questions, which is why clear and open communication with your physician is so important. Here are a few areas that you should review with your doctor:
1. What’s ahead and what can be done? Discuss what lies ahead for you given your current prognosis and what you can do to slow the symptoms. Questions to ask:
- What can be done to alleviate symptoms?
- What behavioral changes can I expect in the near/distant future?
- How long can I expect to be able to safely drive, work, etc.?
2. What medications are best? Talk to your doctor about which medications will work best given your prognosis. Questions to ask:
- What side effects can I expect from these medications?
- What symptoms will these medications treat?
- Are there any complementary therapies that may help?
3. What am I missing? Even with all the preparing you are likely to do before your appointment, you could overlook important aspects of your condition or treatment. Questions to ask:
- What else should I know about Alzheimer’s symptoms or treatments?
- What aspects of the disease are considered normal and what should be reported to you?
- Are any additional tests needed?
Make sure you are thorough and open with your physician to help you better prepare for the road ahead.
Services to Consider:
Managing a progressive cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging, but being able to remain in the secure, familiar surroundings of home can help. Home care services can allow you or your loved one to remain at home while managing the changes that Alzheimer’s brings.
At Aunt Ann’s Home Care, we provide a wide variety of in-home care services to help our clients maintain a high quality of life in the home as they age. Through our experience in caring for clients with Alzheimer’s disease, we have found that the following services are ones you might want to consider:
- Personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming assistance)
- Home modifications
- Medication reminders
- Respite care to relieve family caregivers
We tailor our services to match the right caregiver to each situation, taking into consideration his or her experience, skills, training and personality characteristics. For more information on all the home care services we provide, please see our Services page, or contact us today.
If you would like more information about Alzheimer’s disease, there is a wealth of information available. We have compiled a few well-known, professional resources that we hope will help you in your education and management of this disease.
Downloadable resource sheets:
- Communication Tips for Alzheimer’s Disease
- Coping with Sundown Syndrome
- Alzheimer’s: When to Stop Driving
Alzheimer’s Association – A national network of chapters committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and helping those affected by the disease.
American Health Assistance Foundation. Learn about what Alzheimer’s disease is, its symptoms & risk factors, treatment options and how to live with or care for someone with the disease.
American Psychological Association. Practical Alzheimer’s advice from the APA.
InfoAging – Information about aging and Alzheimer’s from the American Federation for Aging Research.
Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Center – Comprehensive information on Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, care, and treatment.
National Institute on Aging (Alzheimer’s Disease) The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center Web site will help you find current, comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease (AD) information and resources from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Includes research, clinical trials, and links to other Federal resources.
Ageless Design – A resource for caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s and related diseases.