Often, an Alzheimer’s patient cannot identify and remember where they are and may even see their environment as threatening because it is unfamiliar to them. They will feel confusion and fear and may even act violently towards others. Usually, the cause is not rooted in the environment but in a sense of disorientation, in both the place and sometimes even the time. These familiar feelings accompany the disease. It is not easy if you’re caring for a relative who is going through this. Therefore, you must formulate a plan to make things easier for all.
Before implementing precautionary principles in the patient’s area of residence, the following points should be noted: Emphasize prevention rather than learning. Instead of trying to teach or “train” the patient to do actions safely, it is better to invest efforts in preventative activities. It is likely that hazards such as lighters or matches will need to be kept away, as the patient may forget about the risks involved in fire. Keep in mind that many accidents occur when speeding up a patient task that seems simple to us, taking the patient longer to perform because of the difficulty in understanding the task (where to go, what to do).
As the disease progresses, the time it will take to perform the same task – easy and day-to-day as it may be – will be longer. It is important to simplify the process. Keep in mind that many accidents occur in the area of personal care, such as showering, toileting, dressing, or eating. Accidents can be prevented by simplifying processes, guiding the patient through a “step-by-step” process, and allowing enough time to complete the task.
The importance of permanence
Strive for permanence in the patient’s life. Keep them in touch with reality through familiar objects, a familiar and beloved chair, a lamp, lovable clothing details (example: a bathrobe that the patient likes to wear), etc. Look at senior meal delivery which takes the pressure off having to cook for them.
Do what you think is right
Sometimes, an intermediate way needs to be found in the balance between patient safety, and respect for their privacy and desire for independence. We can never anticipate any risk and prevent any problem, and we can never experience the world as an Alzheimer’s patient does. Try to be sensible and use your best judgement in regards to what you think is best for your loved one.
Build an emergency plan
A list of telephone numbers and emergency addresses should be prepared for family, carers, doctors etc. It is advisable to attach telephone numbers of hospitals in the immediate area. You should make sure that you know where their medication is kept and what their wishes are regarding end of life care. It’s necessary to also look at the possibility of your loved one needing full care. Being prepared is important because it gives you a full breakdown of what to do and how you can help them in the best way possible.
Thank you for reading!