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Alzheimer's

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Persevering Through Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 6)

 

2) Managing Behaviors:
The symptoms of AD make it harder for people to maintain their former lifestyle and function in their surroundings. Many symptoms and behaviors can be better managed with varied communication styles, physician support and adjustments in the home environment that are suitable to the needs and limitations of the person with AD.

Focal Points:

  • Remember the worth of the person with AD and respond with reassuring, supportive care, and affection when able.
  • Refer to AD as a “memory problem” to help maintain dignity.
  • Support positive behaviors while not taking problem behaviors personally.
  • Remember that this disease is no one’s fault.
  • Consider managing behaviors such as wandering, aggressiveness or anxiousness with medication guidance from the physician.
  • If red flags are prevalent and caregiving becomes unmanageable or unsafe in the home setting, placement in an assisted living home, memory care facility or nursing home may need to be considered for the person with AD.

3) Structured Activities:
Apathy, lack of engagement and follow-through with activities are characteristic of all three stages, but are especially noted during the mid-stage period. That is why it is so important to focus on routine and structure for activities of daily living. Also, one of the most meaningful issues at mid-stage is engaging a person with AD in purposeful activities. Caregivers, family and friends may underestimate what the person with AD understands and over estimate what they can do independently.

Focal points:

  • Routines are reassuring to the person with Alzheimer’s and can be a substitute for the memory loss.
  • Plan for a daily walking program together with the person with AD to promote exercise and relieve stress.
  • Try to plan a structure for each day and include them in small projects that provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Offer consistent behavior cues or demonstrations to encourage the person to finish a task.
  • Set milestones for the day such as showers, dressing, meals in the home or dining out, visiting with others, coffee breaks, walks, TV shows and bedtime routines.

4) Caregiver Support:
Alzheimer’s is an insidious disease and has profound and extreme effects on both the person with AD and the caregiver. About 80 percent of people diagnosed with AD are cared for at home by family members. Caring for a person with AD is more difficult than other types of family caregiving. Ultimately, the health and well-being of the caregiver will directly impact the care of the person with Alzheimer’s and determine the course of decisions to be made.

 

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