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Nursing Care for Alzheimer’s

Caregiving for a next of kin with Alzheimer’s can be extremely stressful as the disease deteriorates.
Clover Healthcare - Nursing Care for Alzheimer's

Suggestions for successful communication with sufferers of Alzheimer’s:
– cut down on distractions, noise and other things that will impede communication. This will enable the caregiver to understand what the individual with Alzheimer’s is saying and vice versa.
– speak calmly in simple and short sentences.
– calling by name and only continuing after getting his/her attention.
– predict or suggest words that the person is struggling to say but cannot.
– framing instructions and questions in a positive manner.

Suggestions for bathing sufferers of Alzheimer’s:
– understanding that bathing can be daunting for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and to exercise patience.
– testing the water temperature before the person bathes
– using toilet friendly features like shower chair, grab bars etc…
– never leaving the person alone in the shower.
– telling the person what you are going to do in a step by step manner to prepare him/her properly.

Suggestions for dressing sufferers of Alzheimer’s:
– having the person get dressed in a routine schedule, so that it becomes habitual.
– encouragement coupled with enough time to allow the person to dress at their own pace.
– allow only a limited range of outfits for selection.
– avoid buttons and zippers and use clothing with Velcro closures.
– arrange clothes in an order that they reduce confusion.

Suggestions for helping sufferers of Alzheimer’s eat:
– limit food choices after taking into factoring in physical and medical considerations.
– use deep bowls and crockery with large handles to promote independence while eating. Fluids can be introduced via straws or cups with lids.
– play soothing music while having meals.
– do understand that the risk of choking increases while the disease progresses.

Suggestions for helping sufferers of Alzheimer’s sleep better:
– limit daytime napping to ensure that the individual sleeps better at night.
– schedule more physically demanding activities earlier in the day.
– restrict caffeine access in the evening.

Suggestions for helping sufferers of Alzheimer’s with hallucinations and delusions:
– try to minimize confrontation or arguments about what he/she sees or hears.
– distract the person to perform another activity such as going for a walk or even just leaving the room.
– turn off the television when violent programs are shown.
– ensure harmful items are kept away from the sufferers. Kitchens should preferably be locked at night.
– consider using monitoring devices that might detect calls for help.


Does your Next of Kin have Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. This disease was first discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906 after an autopsy on a female patient. Dr Alzheimer discovered that the brain cells in the cerebral cortex of the patient were very different from normal brain cells. The cerebral cortex is the area of the brain that controls memory and logic. Dr. Alzheimer also found tangles of a plaque substance in the brain. These are formed by the build up of beta-amyloid clumping together.
Nursing Home - Dementia
The onset of Alzheimer’s disease usually happens progressively after the age of 60 and the risk for the disease increases with age. The symptoms may be very subtle and go unnoticed in the early stages.

Early Stage Symptoms:
• Personality changes
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Frequent and unexplained mood swings
• Difficulty with thinking and reasoning
• Temporal sense of confusion outside the house or neighbourhood
• Difficulty performing tasks that the person could perform in the past

Moderate Stage Symptoms:
• Inability to perform tasks such as bathing or toileting
• Loss of personal hygiene (such as wearing the same dirty clothes, day after day)
• Aggressive behaviour
• Difficulty with speech and communication

Late Stage Symptoms:
• Complete incontinence of bowels and bladder, requiring adult diaper usage
• Rage for no apparent reason
• Aphasia (difficulty speaking to others or understanding the words that are spoken by others)
• Extreme paranoia or suspiciousness
• Slow or slurred speech, making comprehension hard
• Taking ages or having problem performing simple tasks like dressing oneself

Medications can be prescribed to delay the progression of the symptoms but there are currently no known medications that can halt or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Caregiving for a next of kin that has Alzheimer’s disease is particularly stressful and cumbersome. This is even more so as the disease worsens with age. Psychologically, it is also very draining on the caregiver. Hence, it comes as no surprise when most will consider long term nursing care for their next of kin when their Alzheimer’s disease has worsened.
PS: If you need more information on Alzheimer’s disease, do visit the Alzheimer’s Association.