Many thanks to senior living expert Holly Klamer from SeniorLiving.org for sharing valuable information about how to provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s. For more information on National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, click here.
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex progressive brain disorder that is irreversible and that causes a slow deterioration of memory and thinking skills. It is not considered a normal part of aging, but it is the most common cause of dementia. It’s likely that Alzheimer’s will impact our lives in some fashion either by facing the disease ourselves or by having a friend or family member experience it. If you have a family member or someone else in your life who is struggling with this condition, you may be overwhelmed with the task of managing Alzheimer’s care. November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, so let’s look at some important statistics about the disease and explore tips to help you care for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Consider the stats
- Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Over 5 million people in the United States are living with the condition.
- That figure that is expected to jump to 14 million by the year 2050.
- Over 16 million people in the United States care for someone with Alzheimer’s unpaid. That care is valued at over 18 billion hours and $232 billion dollars.
When it’s your responsibility to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to remember that it will take her longer to process things than it will take you. Take it slowly with her activities, be patient with her as she processes information and give her time to work things out. This may be frustrating, particularly if you were used to her pre-Alzheimer’s pace, but take a deep breath and practice patience as best as you can.
As you provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s, recognize the responsibility of ensuring the safety of your loved one at all times. She mustn’t have any opportunity to accidentally hurt herself while moving around the house. Dementia patients struggle with their levels of judgment, so it can be harder for them to keep themselves safe. To reduce the risk of an accident, make sure to keep walkways clear and well-lit throughout the house and to cover slippery surfaces with a mat for traction. Ensure that stairs, bathrooms and any other tricky areas of the house have handrails to grab onto. Remove any fire hazards and supervise your loved one when using the kitchen or heating system.