Facing Alzheimer’s: Why You Don’t Have to Go at it Alone
If there’s one situation that yields stress and complications in the elderly – while wreaking financial and emotional turmoil amongst family members – it’s the onset of Alzheimer’s. But we’re here to tell you that dealing with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean you and your loved one must go at it alone. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, or another branch of dementia, can impact every aspect one one’s daily life. As the patient loses one ability after the next, a caregiver faces challenges of stamina, problem-solving and resiliency. And while maintaining emotional and physical fitness is crucial – not just for you, but the individual you may be caring for – preparing yourself, understanding your loved one’s hardships and seeking support from others go a long way toward helping you succeed on the caregiving front.
First Things First: Symptoms, Stresses and Complications Associated with Alzheimer’s in the Elderly
Early signs of Alzheimer’s aren’t always clear-cut in nature, and they can be difficult to distinguish from normal age-related memory changes and such. Many people mistakenly confuse Alzheimer’s disease with dementia; however, Alzheimer’s is classified as a disease and dementia is defined as a group of symptoms that include loss of memory, thinking and reasoning abilities. And while dementia isn’t always caused by Alzheimer’s disease, it can result from a myriad of other conditions.
Common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
• Memory Loss – Though older memories might seem unaffected, individuals with Alzheimer’s might forget recent experiences or important dates or events.
• Repetition – Those with Alzheimer’s may repeat stories, sometimes word for word, and may keep asking the same questions regardless of the amount of times they’re answered.
• Linguistic Difficulties – While we all struggle to remember a word from time to time, those with Alzheimer’s can exhibit profound problems remembering even basic words.
• Personality Alterations – From sudden mood swings to becoming highly emotional, there are a range of changes that can occur in this area.
• Disorientation and Confusion – Patients may get lost in places they know very well – such as their own neighborhoods – and may also exhibit difficulty completing basic and familiar tasks such as cooking dinner or shaving.
• Lack of Hygiene – Sometimes this is the most blatant sign of Alzheimer’s disease; people who may have dressed sharply every day of their lives may begin wearing stained clothing or stop bathing.
• Odd Behavior – Sure, we all do things like misplace our keys from time to time…but folks with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are prone to placing objects in odd and wholly inappropriate places. For example, they might put a toothbrush in the refrigerator or milk in the cabinet under the sink.
How the Whole Family Can Benefit From an In Home Care Specialist
Like most other senior-related illnesses, choosing the right in home care for Alzheimer’s can make all the difference. Some 70-percent of Alzheimer’s disease patients are cared for at home, and there’s a reason for this staggering number: Home care is essential to providing personal care and giving the family assistance and relief in continuing to care for the patient. Here’s what to look for when choosing in home care for an Alzheimer’s patient:
• Is the agency licensed or accredited?
• How long has the agency been in business?
• Are the employees bonded and insured?
• What type of criminal background checks are performed for prospective employees? Are references checked and are personnel files updated annually?
• What type of experience or certification do the aides need to hold before they are hired?
• What kind of training does the company provide for employees…does training cover Alzheimer’s and dementia care?
• When it comes to fees, are there additional costs for weekend, holidays or other periods of time?
• What is the billing procedure – do you pay the agency or the aide directly?
There are a myriad of additional factors to take into consideration when choosing an in home facility for your loved one that may be suffering with Alzheimer’s. For more information, call Royal Home Companion