Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
By Haley Burress
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease. If you have found yourself in a caregiving role for your aging loved one who has some type of dementia, you are not alone. It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans provide some type of unpaid adult care for seniors living with dementia. However, Alzheimer’s care can be overwhelming, difficult, and even unhealthy for family caregivers.
If you are caring for your loved one, whether nearby or from far away, you should begin by focusing on a few key points. Here is what you need to know to keep you, and your senior loved one, as healthy as possible.
Senior care for older adults living with dementia begins with safety. Due to the confusion, memory loss, and decreased judgment that are hallmarks of progressive cognitive decline, safety can quickly become a serious issue. Transportation, medication management, falls, and household safety can cause major health consequences for seniors living alone or with partners. Fortunately, you can keep your loved one safe and thriving at home with a few action steps.
Assure that you have plans in place for your loved one to get to their favorite shops or church services by arranging reliable transportation through experienced home healthcare services. Arrange for home health support with medication management and for fall risk assessments of the home.
Older adults living with dementia can find complex tasks, such as meal planning and preparation, insurmountable. However, without proper nutrition, these at risk seniors can quickly become ill, malnourished, and weak. If you live nearby, you can help by taking your loved one grocery shopping once per week or dropping off premade meals for your loved one to pull out during meal times. In many cases, family caregivers find that finding consistent, and memory care experienced, home health aides can be the best-case scenario.
Home health caregivers can provide nutritional support to seniors living with dementia. In addition to grocery shopping and meal preparation, caregivers also offer reminders and cues to eat at regular times of the day. They get seniors involved with the meal preparation as well, which offers a sensory stimulation activity that can simultaneously calm and engage the senior.
Recent studies have shown that perceived loneliness in seniors causes catastrophic mental and physical health problems ranging from increased depression to increased cognitive decline. Even if your loved one is at home with a partner, both seniors still need regular socialization to stay healthy. Stop by for regular visits, where you do an activity together instead of watching television. If you are far away, consider regular visits from a home health aide.
Home health aides can be the friendly and loving face for your aging loved one. Not only can these experienced caregivers offer consistency and assistance with daily tasks, they also offer a chance to reminisce, share a story, or take a walk around the neighborhood together. These socialization activities are crucial to any senior, but especially those living with memory issues.
Are you curious how home health services could benefit your loved one? Give the team at United Home Health a call today; we would be honored to partner with you to provide the best care for your loved one.