Alzheimer's Disease - Home Treatment
Most people who have
Alzheimer's disease are cared for at home by family members and friends. Taking
care of someone with Alzheimer's disease can be physically and emotionally
draining, but there are ways to make it easier. One of the keys to successful
home care is educating yourself. You can do a lot to make the most of the
person's remaining abilities, manage the problems that develop, and improve the
quality of his or her life as well as your own. Also remember that caregiving
can be a positive experience for you and the person you are caring for.
If you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer's, one of the goals is
to keep the person as healthy and safe as possible. A safe environment, good
nutrition, regular sleep habits, good hygiene, and prompt care of other medical
problems are important to the person's overall well-being.
- Make your home safe by keeping rooms
free from clutter, using locks on doors and cupboards, and installing handrails
on the bathtub.
- Practice good nutrition by making meal
time a positive experience. You may need to serve finger foods that are easily
held by the person who has Alzheimer's. Set aside enough time for the person to
eat, and limit choices. Too many choices may be confusing to the
- Manage sleep problems by discouraging napping during the
day and offering warm milk before bedtime.
- Manage bladder and bowel control problems (incontinence) by encouraging the person to regularly
use the bathroom and restricting liquids before bedtime.
Dealing with behavior problems and failing mental
abilities often is the biggest challenge for caregivers. Strategies for dealing
with these problems may not eliminate all the problems but may make the
problems easier to deal with.
- Make the most of remaining abilities.
Let the person make decisions as long as he or she is able
- Help the person be at ease in his or her surroundings.
Put labels on items and surround the person with familiar objects such as
- Understand behavior changes. Wandering
or disruptive behaviors may occur. Try to remember the person's background and
consider that the behaviors may be the person's way of trying to continue past
activities or habits.
- Manage agitation. Keep distractions to
a minimum and keep your voice quiet.
- Manage "sundowning."
Sundowning is when symptoms of agitation and wandering become worse during the
early evening hours. Try turning on lights as evening nears and give the person
a single task to focus on.
- Manage wandering.
Get the person an ID bracelet in case he or she does wander away. Lock outside
doors to make it harder for the person to get out of the house without
your knowing it.
- Consider the way you communicate. For
example, don't argue with the person. Offer reassurance and try to focus the
person's attention on something else. Use short, simple, familiar words and