Managing Complications of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease often begins with memory loss. But as the disease grows more severe, it can cause many other mental, emotional, and physical problems.
Here are some ways to manage complications that your loved one with
Alzheimer's may face.
Recommended Related to Alzheimer's
What to Do After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis
Rosemary Orange, 53, of Ottawa, Ontario, suspected something was wrong with her 83-year-old mother, Sylvia. "She'd go shopping and forget what she was doing," Orange says. "So she'd come right back home without buying anything."
Several months later, Orange's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a type of dementia that affects nearly 36 million people worldwide. That rate is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.
What can you do if a parent...
Read the What to Do After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis article > >
Agitation and Aggression
You may see someone with
Alzheimer's act anxious or upset. When they're feeling this way, they may fidget, shout, throw things, or try to hit other people. To help keep your loved one calm:
Keep their surroundings quiet. Background noise, such as from a television, can upset people with Alzheimer's.
Settle into a routine. Changes in their environment and to their daily routine, such as travel or the appearance of guests, can make your loved one agitated.
Check for causes of discomfort. Pain, fatigue, or a need to use the restroom could make them unsettled or trigger an outburst.
Stay calm. Avoid arguing with someone who has Alzheimer's.
Bladder and Bowel Issues
People with Alzheimer's tend to have trouble controlling their
bladder and bowels. That's especially true when the disease grows more severe. To prevent and manage accidents:
Take your loved one to the restroom every few hours.
Be aware of signs of needing to go, including fidgeting and clutching clothing.
When you're away from home, know where the restrooms are.
Encourage them to drink less fluid close to
Many people with Alzheimer's become depressed, especially soon after they develop the disease.
Antidepressant drugs may help. Your loved one is less likely to become depressed if they:
exercise Spend more time around other people
Stay busy with hobbies and activities they enjoy
People with Alzheimer's are more likely to lose their balance and fall, which can cause serious harm. To help prevent falls and injuries in the home:
exercise, especially early in the disease, to help your loved one keep their balance and muscle strength. Remove objects that are easy to trip on, such as loose rugs or extension cords.
Be sure stairways have at least one handrail.
Place non-skid strips in the bathtub and on smooth flooring.
Place easy-to-see stickers on large windows and sliding-glass doors to make it obvious that something solid is there.