Welcome to our Caregivers Corner.
Your one-stop page for all the latest tips, ideas, news and events at LIAF...stop back often!
Online Resources for Alzheimer's Patients and Caregivers
We have compiled a list of online resources which you may find helpful as you begin or continue on your Alzheimer's journey. We hope you find the list useful. If you know of a worthy source of information, don't hesitate to contact us so we can share it with other Alzheimer's patients and families.
LIAF's LEGAL ADVISORY BOARD
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and/or a related dementia, it is important to review one's legal and financial matters. Doing this at the onset makes it easier to include the affected individual in the decision making process, so that his/her wishes can be taken into account, providing the loved one still has the cognitive ability to participate in the decision making process. It also helps reduce the stress on family members, as it provides a directional blueprint as to what steps - both legally and financially - need to be taken as the disease progresses and decisions regarding asset protection, financial resources, estate planning, health care proxy and long term care planning have to be made.
LIAF's team of Legal Advisory Board Elder Law attorneys are able to help assist families with the multitude of issues that can arise once a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and/or a related dementia is received. Learn more today or contact us if you have further questions.
Alzheimer's caregiving takes patience and flexibility. To reduce frustration, consider these tips for daily tasks — from limiting choices and reducing distractions to creating a safe environment.
In the early stages of Alzheimer's, your loved one might still be able to live and function independently. As the disease progresses, however, his or her ability to handle daily tasks will dwindle. Consider practical tips to help your loved one maintain a sense of independence and dignity as he or she becomes more dependent on you or other caregivers. (Tips courtesy www.mayoclinic.com)
A person who has Alzheimer's might become agitated when once-simple tasks become difficult or impossible. To limit challenges and ease frustration:
- Schedule wisely. Establish a routine to make each day more predictable and less confusing. Schedule the most difficult tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, for the time of day when your loved one tends to be most calm and agreeable.
- Take your time. Expect things to take longer than they used to. Schedule more time to complete tasks so that you don't need to hurry your loved one.
- Involve your loved one. Allow your loved one to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, perhaps your loved one can dress alone if you lay out the clothes in the order they go on.
- Limit choices. The fewer the options, the easier it is to decide. For example, provide two outfits to choose between — not a closet full of clothes. Eliminate belts or accessories that are likely to be put on incorrectly.
- Provide simple instructions. When you ask your loved one to do something, do it one step at a time.
- Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations so that your loved one can better focus on the task at hand.
Your loved one's ability to function and cope will steadily decline. It might even vary from day to day. Try to stay flexible and adapt your routine as needed.
For example, if a favorite food suddenly becomes unappealing to your loved one, adjust the menu. If your loved one starts insisting on wearing the same outfit every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. When your loved one is bathing, switch the worn outfit for a clean one.
You might also relax your standards a bit. Bathing, for example, might not be necessary every day — especially if it's upsetting for your loved one. Try sponge baths between showers or tub baths.
Create a safe environment.
Alzheimer's disease impairs judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing your loved one's risk of injury. To keep your loved one safe:
- Prevent falls. Avoid scatter rugs, extension cords and any clutter that could cause your loved one to trip or fall. Install handrails or grab bars in critical areas.
- Use locks. Install locks on cabinets that contain anything potentially dangerous, such as medicine, alcohol, guns, toxic cleaning substances, dangerous utensils and tools.
- Check water temperature. Lower the thermostat on the hot-water heater to prevent burns.
- Take fire safety precautions. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. If your loved one smokes, make sure he or she does so only with supervision. Make sure a fire extinguisher is accessible, and the smoke alarms have fresh batteries.
Focus on individualized care.
Each person who has Alzheimer's will experience its symptoms and progression differently. Consequently, caregiving techniques need to vary. Tailor these practical tips to your loved one's individual needs.
Remember, your loved one's responses and behaviors might be different from what they used to be. Patience and flexibility — along with good self-care and the support of friends and family — can help you deal with the challenges and frustrations ahead.
Check out the recent articles below and be sure to contact us if you have something you'd like to contribute.
- “Placing a Loved One in Assisted Living”, Allan Vann, Social Work Today, May/June 2014
- “The National Alzheimer's Project Act - Missed Opportunities from a Caregiver's Perspective”, Allan Vann, JAGS, May 2014
- “Alzheimer's - Would You Want to Know?”, Michael Dobie, Long Island Newsday, March 14, 2014
- “First Large-scale Study Finds Cognitive Training Aids in Long-term Function in Older People”, Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post, January 13, 2014
- “My New Year's 'Wish List' for a National Alzheimer's Agenda”, Allan Vann, January 10, 2014
- “Alzheimer's Cure Must Be Pursued”, Allan Vann, Newsday, January 6, 2014
- “Making Brain Gains in Memory-loss Battle”, Claude Solvik, Long Island Business News, December 3, 2013
- “Three Important Actions for Alzheimer's Caregivers”, Allan Vann, Clinical Geriatrics, October 1, 2013