What to Expect as Your Loved One Ages: Tips for Supportive Home Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

Did you know that over 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia? Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that gradually damages memory and thinking skills, as well as the capacity to do the most basic tasks. It is the leading cause of dementia in elderly people.

Here are some tips for the best Alzheimer’s patients home care and how to support someone with dementia in a compassionate and caring manner:

•  Reduce the amount of change in your routine and people.

  Allow your loved one to do familiar tasks, such as washing off the table or sweeping the floor.

  Give your loved one direction one at a time, using short words like “stand up, walk over here, sit down here, pick up your spoon, put it in the rice, pick up the spoon, open your mouth, put the spoon in your mouth.”

  Instead of scolding your loved one, congratulate them on finishing a task. For example, if your loved one puts their shirt on inside out, don’t mention that it’s on backward; instead, compliment them on a job well done.

  Don’t surprise your loved one when you discuss doing something. You should first communicate with them to develop a bond. A simple discussion on the weather would suffice.

  Give your loved one an appropriate option and try not to micromanage their choices. Making decisions promotes independence. The options you present them with must be appropriate. For example, if it’s 100 degrees outside, choose two outfits that are appropriate for summer (i.e., short sleeves) rather than winter (i.e., long sleeves). So, whatever they decide, it will be appropriate.

  Maintain a simple and peaceful environment. Don’t overpower them with bright colors and patterns on the floor and walls (for example, ornamental photos and patterned rugs).

  Establish and stick to a predictable pattern with them so they know what to do next and don’t have to ask you over and over.