Having an older family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be traumatic for everyone involved. The initial shock may seem overwhelming. However, there are several things families must do after receiving the news.
1. Learn About the Disease
Family members should get as much information as possible about Alzheimer’s disease, especially the way it progresses. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America are two vital resources for information and support. By learning about Alzheimer’s disease, you will be better equipped to formulate a care plan for your loved one. Work with healthcare providers who are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease.
For many families in Conway, Arkansas, Alzheimer’s care is an essential component of helping their elderly loved ones remain healthy, safe, and happy in the comfort of home. From cognitive stimulation to help with tasks like meal prep, light housekeeping, and transportation, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance are the top choice for families who cannot provide the Alzheimer’s care their aging loved ones need and deserve.
2. Update Legal Documents
While your loved one is able to do so, make sure all legal documents are updated as needed. Essential legal documents may include advance directives, wills, and trusts. Taking care of these matters early on enables your loved one to provide his or her input.
3. Safeguard the Home
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, cognitive impairment may put your loved one in danger. Wandering and getting lost is common for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Consider installing locks out of reach or using simple alarms to prevent your loved one from venturing outdoors unattended. Although your loved one may desire to continue preparing meals, he or she may eventually forget to turn off kitchen appliances. Invest in appliances that turn off automatically after a designated amount of time. Alzheimer’s disease can also cause visual disturbances that interfere with depth perception. Clear pathways and provide nighttime illumination along frequently used paths. Stairways pose a fall risk. Use child-proof gates to block these areas, and keep basement doors locked.
4. Establish Routines
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are better able to manage daily life when there are familiar routines. As long-term memory remains unaffected even during the later stages of the disease, seniors may still be able to understand the events that occur throughout the day. Use calendars, clocks, and other methods to help your loved one stay oriented to time and place.
5. Provide Cognitive Exercises
Researchers found that regular mental stimulation plays an important role in delaying Alzheimer’s symptoms. Encourage your loved one to put together puzzles, read, or engage in other mentally challenging activities. Learning new tasks stimulates more areas of the brain and creates new neural pathways.
Hiring a professional caregiver is another way to ensure your loved one makes healthy lifestyle choices that delay the onset of cognitive decline. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Conway caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more.
6. Encourage Physical Activity
By staying as physically active as possible, seniors can maintain or increase their cardiovascular health. Enhanced blood flow ensures neurons receive oxygen and essential nutrients they need to function properly.
7. Make Dietary Adjustments
Low-fat diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats provide the body with all of the nutrients needed while inhibiting inflammation, high cholesterol, and unnecessary weight gain.
Caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenging task. If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality non-medical in-home care, Conway Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. To learn about our premier in-home plans, give us a call at (501) 764-1312 today.