When Alzheimer's Affects More than Memory
People in the later stages of Alzheimer’s are more likely to get infections, including bladder infections, flu, and pneumonia. To lower your loved one’s chances of getting sick:
- Talk to his doctor about getting a flu shot each year.
- A one-time pneumonia shot after age 65 is also a good idea.
- Watch for sudden changes in symptoms or behaviors, or a fever. These can point to an infection.
People with Alzheimer's may feel drowsy during the day but have trouble sleeping through the night. Take these steps to help your loved one get some rest:
Stick to a schedule. Keep him on a routine for bedtime, waking up, and meals.
No naps. Save sleeping for nighttime.
Get outside. Spend time outdoors, especially in bright sunlight early in the day. This can lead to better sleep at night.
Avoid "sleep wreckers." Urge him to quit caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
Check medications. Ask his doctor or pharmacist if any of his prescriptions could affect sleep.
In the later stages of the disease, memory problems and confusion may give your loved one sudden urges to wander away from home. If he leaves home alone, he could be in danger. To prevent wandering:
- Make doors hard to open. You may need to place locks higher on doors.
- Put alarms on doors so they sound an alert when they're opened.
- Keep car keys hidden.
- Have him wear an ID bracelet, just in case he does wander and needs help finding his way home.