Alzheimer's, also referred to as senior dementia, affects approximately 5 million Americans. There is no known cure, and the cause is uncertain. It is impossible to prevent and very difficult to slow. Women are two-thirds more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's than men.
Although it is estimated that more than 700,000 people will die from Alzheimer's in 2015 in the United States alone, in reality it is not Alzheimer's per se but rather its associated effects that lead to death in most cases. For example, secondary infections, such as bladder infections in bedridden Alzheimer's patients can result in death.
As basic motor skills become impaired, simple things such as chewing can become unimaginably difficult. This can lead to aspiration and pneumonia. Difficulty walking can lead to falls. Impaired cognitive abilities can make learning to walk once more too difficult an undertaking for many Alzheimer's sufferers.
Despite the difficulties associated with the disease, it is possible to effectively care for the Alzheimer's patient. It is possible to help them manage daily activities and maintain quality of life even as the disease progresses.
Following are a few helpful tips to assist you in caring for an Alzheimer's sufferer:
- Provide memory aids in the form of maps or reminder notes. Label everyday items to assist with recollection.
- Organize clothing in an easy-to-access manner and label clothing items if necessary. Reduce clothing options to avoid confusion and frustration.
- Provide nutritious meals at regular intervals. Consider serving just one food at a time to remove the confusion that can come with too many choices. Cut food into small pieces to make swallowing easier.
- Enable your loved one to engage in hobbies or activities that they have enjoyed in the past.
- Provide ample interaction with others, whether through visits with family members or classes at an adult daycare facility.
- Try to provide a calming and reassuring presence should your loved one become agitated or restless.
Of course, the reality of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease may involve incontinence or a refusal to eat. The Medical Maven offers a variety of products to assist with either of these issues as well as many others that you may encounter in the course of caring for a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer's. We understand the issues faced by the Alzheimer's caregiver. We are here to help.
Statement: Alzheimer's caregivers can help loved ones with the disease maintain quality of life.