Alzheimer’s takes a toll on both sufferers and their loved ones, leaving them feeling tired and helpless. As time passes, a person with Alzheimer’s has more and more trouble completing even simple tasks and communicating with others. Although having patience through this time can be difficult, caregivers can follow a few simple tips to improve communication and everyday life for a person with this debilitating disease.
Provide Simple Choices
Giving an Alzheimer’s patient choices on a daily basis helps him feel in control, but complicated or open-ended choices can be overwhelming. Stick to simple choices, such as drinking ice water or lemonade with a meal. Other simple choices such as mealtimes, choosing outfits and choosing leisure activities are great opportunities to provide options for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Create a Structured Environment
Allowing your loved one to accomplish as much as he can without assistance is important, but a distracting environment can make completing tasks difficult. Set things up for the task, such as laying out an outfit or preparing dishes for setting the table. It may also be beneficial to minimize distractions, such as radio noise, other people’s conversations or a TV playing in the background, to help him keep his mind on the task at hand.
Take Safety Precautions
Patients with Alzheimer’s may have impaired problem-solving abilities and judgement, so take away safety risks from the home to avoid injury. Use locks on cabinets with potentially dangerous items, such as medicine and matches, and avoid extension cords and clutter on the floor to prevent falls.
Take Time to Listen
Alzheimer’s can impair communication, so taking time to understand what a person with Alzheimer’s is trying to say requires patience. Be supportive, reassuring him that he can take as much time as he needs when speaking. Pay attention to gestures and facial cues to fully understand what your loved one wants to express.After some time and practice, these four tips can become habitual for both you and your loved one, taking some of the stress out of everyday living.