Living with an Alzheimer’s patient can be very challenging. Each person suffering from AD can react to the disease differently. Helping these patients takes a lot of patience and knowlege. You will have to develop skills and be creative in your approach of caring for them.
It is estimated that over 4.5 million American adults may have this impairment. You must learn to recognize the early symptoms and start preparing for being a care giver that could last for a long time.
AD is a progressive disease that affects the brain cells that produce Dementia, and memory loss. AD normally affects older people but it could start at a low age of 50. You cannot predict how fast the disease will progress because it varies with each patient. Some early signs can be having a hard time finding the right word to say, finishing thoughts, following directions, and loss of reasoning. If a person has a loss between night and day an gets dressed to go out thinking that the day is just starting is another good sign of early AD.
It is hard to predict what an AD person may do. Think prevention and try to adapt the person’s surroundings to decrease hazards. Here is some ideas you may want to consider:
* Display all emergency numbers, your home address, family and friends names, in several places in the home and by each phone.
* Leave a spare key with a neighbor in case the person locks you out.
* Try not to use extension cords. Place lights and appliances near an outlet. If you have to, secure it to the baseboard.
* Cover unused wall outlets with “child-proof” plugs.
* Stairways should have at least one handrail and it should extend beyond the first step. Carpeted
stairs or stairs with safety grips are best.
* Keep ALL medications and prescription drugs (over the counter drugs) under lock and key. Be sure all are clearly marked with the name, doseage, strength, and expiration date. It is also good to have the pharmacy name, local emergency services phone number in the locked cabinet.
* Keep all alcohol locked up as well. Alcohol increases confusion in AD patients.
* Keep sharp objects and clutter out of the way. Be sure all passageways are clear.
* Remove firearms and other weapons from the home, or render them safe by locking them up and
engage trigger safety locks. It’s best to keep the ammunition in another location again locked up.
* Power tools and machinery can be dangerous. Survey your worksop, basement or garage for
possible danger with these items.
* Be aware of all poisonous materials. Even some plants can be harmful. Check with your local poisoncontrol center if you have any questions about a certain plant or substance.
* Be sure all the important information stored on your computer is safe. Install passwords or save it
on a CD, or flash drive for safe keeping. There are several different programs you can install to help protect your stored files. Your local electronic store can help you recommend a program for your needs.
* Remove scatter rugs or any flooring that in not secured to the floor.
Alzheimer’s is a hard on the individual as well as family and friends. Trying to keep them safe and happy at home for as long is possible is a win-win situation for all concerned. Hopefully in the near future, a cure can be found for this terrible disease.