Alzheimer’s Disease is very common, unfortunately. But, it can also be very difficult to know how to handle it. So, we thought it would be helpful to create a list of tips on how to help someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. These are great ideas for family members and caregivers who are taking care of someone who has Alzheimer’s.
How to Communicate
Each person is affected differently by Alzheimer’s Disease. So it is best not to make assumptions about a person’s ability to communicate. Here are some ways to talk to your loved ones or clients, depending on which stage of Alzheimer’s they are in.
Early stage of Alzheimer’s disease
- Include the person in conversations
- Take the time to listen and provide plenty of time to respond
- It is best not to interrupt
- Adding humor throughout the day helps lighten the mood
- Engage with them in a quiet space
- Speak slow and clear so they can understand you better
- Be patient and kind
- Ask only one question at a time. Yes or no questions are best.
- Try not to use any accusatory language
- Visual cues may be a good addition to words
- Sometimes written notes are more helpful than spoken words
- Identify yourself when approaching
- Use nonverbal communication such as facial expressions and pointing to things in the room
- Treat them with respect
- Using senses to communicate with them is very helpful as well
Create a Daily Plan
When you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s Disease it helps to know the person’s likes, abilities and interests. If you can create a daily plan around those, it will help tremendously. Knowing what a person’s day was like before the disease is also helpful. If you determine when the person functions best during the day, that will make for a smoother day.
When creating this schedule or daily plan, allow plenty of time for meals, bathing, and dressing. It is also important to establish regular wake-up times and bedtimes.
There are lots of great options when it comes to choosing activities to fill the rest of the day. These can including household chores, bathing, making crafts, reading, doing puzzles, visiting friends, taking a walk, gardening, playing games, and watching movies. Remember, you don’t have to fill every minute of their day with activities though.
Also, it is really important to include respite care in that plan. Self-care is critically important for all of us, and especially when we are caregivers. And there are a ton of resources available to help. Check out the Alzheimer’s Association website for more information.