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12 Caregiving Tips for Assisting People with Alzheimer’s Disease

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  1. Alzheimer’s disease affects language. Often the person may substitute words, such as “I need a fork” when he or she meant to say “I need a spoon.” Just give them the spoon, don’t try to correct them as this doesn’t achieve anything.
  2. Use simple words and short sentences. Speaking in a gentle, calm tone of voice can produce positive results.
  3. Avoid baby talk when talking to a person with Alzheimer’s. It’s ineffective and can come off as rude. Speak respectfully in a normal voice as one adult to another.
  4. Bathing can be a frightening and confusing experience for some individuals with Alzheimer’s. It is important to prepare everything in advance and gently begin coaching him/her to start the process. Help as much as needed but allow him/her to do as much of it as they can by themselves.
  5. When assisting someone with Alzheimer’s to dress, lay two choices of clothing out and let them decide.
  6. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may become paranoid and or suspicious of others. It’s important to ease the worry by redirecting the conversation to a neutral or non-threatening subject.
  7. Mealtime can be a challenge so choose dishes and eating tools that promote independence. Using bowls instead of plates or using straws for drinking can be a simple way to make mealtime easier.
  8. When attempting to engage in difficult chores such as bathing and grooming use gestures and other non-verbal cues. You can distract the person with enjoyable activities such as singing to lead the person into the activities they dislike.
  9. Find ways to soothe the person with Alzheimer’s concern. If an elderly woman asks “where are my babies,” it is ok to say that they are sleeping. Or if the person asks the whereabouts of a spouse who is deceased, it is ok to say that they are running an errand.
  10.  Be patient! Expect things to take longer. Schedule more time to complete even the simple tasks so as not to hurry and confuse the person with Alzheimer’s.
  11. If the person with Alzheimer’s suffers from incontinence, it’s helpful to have a routine for taking the person to the bathroom. For example, take the person to the restroom every 3-4 hours during the day.
  12.  People with Alzheimer’s Disease can’t control what is happening to them. It is the caregiver who must adapt and change. As a caregiver, you must learn news ways to relate to the person with Alzheimer’s.

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