Alzheimer’s comes with a lot of behavioral symptoms. At the early stages of this condition, the person can become quite anxious or depressed. Later, as the Alzheimer’s progresses, patients can become easily aggravated, confused and, sometimes, delusional; not to mention that regular activities like eating and sleeping can turn into real challenges.
For home caregivers, Alzheimer’s behavioral management is one of the most difficult and stressing parts of looking out for their loved one.
If you’re already offering your care –or considering doing so– to a family member who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, take a look at some things you can do that will help you manage that person’s behavior.
First things first: it’s normal for caregivers to be stressed out; but if you’re skipping meals, having trouble sleeping or anxiety and depression signs –you need to manage your own stress and emotions first. How can you manage other’s behavior if you’re struggling to manage your own? Learn how a caregiver can manage stress.
To manage stress in an Alzheimer’s patient, try to fit in things you know the person enjoys. Play some soothing songs, talk about past events and connect with your loved one. Also, incorporate light exercise. Whether you go for a walk, or practice some indoor stretches, exercise is proven to reduce stress.
Create a safe and calm environment
Be mindful of the environment you live in. Make sure that potentially dangerous objects (tools, sharp objects, medication, etc.) are storaged and protected since Alzheimer’s patients tend to wander around the house.
Place cue objects that can help the person feel in a familiar place. Hang family pictures, a big calendar and clock, and have other family members and friends visit.
Keep a routine
Meals, bath, taking medication and the time to wake up and go to bed should always be the same. You can also have a TV hour followed by a daily walk or storytelling.
This is extremely important. Keeping a daily routine will not only help to manage the person’s behavior, but it’ll also add to the safe and familiar environment as well.
Being a home caregiver is exhausting; don’t feel ashamed to admit it. Maybe the most important tip should be: ask for help.
If you feel like the Alzheimer’s progresses into a stage you cannot longer handle, that is, you and the person you take care of, are in emotional and physical danger, please consider moving your loved one into special care facilities that can offer professional, medical care.