September 14, 2009

Alzheimer’s Homes Safety: How to Keep your Patient Safe at Home

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that will more and more affect a patient’s brain. The centers most affected are those of memory, sound judgment, communication, and decision-making. While slow at the onset, the illness will build momentum, and it is not unusual for the patient to eventually need round the clock care. Many a time a family member or friend will take on the role of initial caregiver to permit the patient to live with dignity and to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible before having to enter a resident care facility.

If you find yourself in the position of caregiver, please note that this can be one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever encounter. Additionally, it will permit you to make your loved one’s life more enjoyable and worth living than other alternatives may be able to do. Yet in order to keep your loved one safe, especially as the illness progresses, it is important to remember that there are a few steps you will need to take to make your loved one’s home a safe and secure haven for her or him.

Here are some tried tips and tricks that will help your loved one to remain safe at home:

- Very often those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease will become confused and get lost very easily. At the onset of the disease, this may be an infrequent problem, but it is quite possible that the frequency of periods of confusion will increase. Thus, if your loved one has a dog for which she or he cares, accompany her or him on the daily walks. As time progresses and her or his mobility decreases, consider hiring a reliable neighborhood kid or even a professional service that will come and walk the pet for your loved one.

- If your loved one enjoys gardening, be sure to help out. You may wish to install a sturdy garden gate that will prevent her or him from wandering off and getting lost. Similarly, the application of garden chemicals and maintenance that involves dangerous tools should be done either by you or a professional gardener as time goes on.

- Purchase a medical ID bracelet for your loved one and make sure he or she wears it. This way, if the patient gets confused and wanders away from the home, identification is possible when a neighbor or the police pick up her or him.

- Collect all household chemicals and poisons and keep them in one locked cabinet. As the illness progresses, your loved one may be confused with respect to hazardous substances and may not remember which materials are dangerous if ingested. By keeping these chemicals under lock and key you will avoid accidental poisonings.

- You may further aid your loved one in preventing accidental poisonings by monitoring her or his intake of medications. By parceling the pills into weekly sorting strips you will be able to keep track of which medication need to be taken at what time. This will help you and your loved one to make sure that all pills are taken according to the doctor’s instructions. ...

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September 09, 2009

Home Care Solutions for your Loved One

Your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness and you have decided to take care for her or him at home. Depending on your loved one’s illness and its severity, as well as the prognosis for future decline, you will have a tough road ahead of you, yet with some planning, ample help, and smart usage of the community resources available to you, this experience will be rewarding to both you and your loved one. In addition to the foregoing, you will be able to supply the dignity, quality one on one care, and whole-person care that your loved one would not be able to receive in an institutional setting.

Here are four tried and true tips to make the most of your loved one’s care at home and ensuring in the process that her or his quality of life is preserved to the maximum amount possible:

1. Plan activities. The mistaken mental picture of many about care giving in the home is that of the loved one lying in a big bed resting. This may be true for a portion of the time, but not on a consistent basis. As a matter of fact, you and your loved one will be able to enjoy many activities together! Not only do these activities help your loved one to preserve a sense of self-esteem, but they will also provide something to look forward to. Obviously, you will want to make sure that you engage in activities that your loved one is physically capable of enjoying while also being of interest to her or him. For example, if your loved one loves to go to the mall, you may wish to plan such outings frequently. Many times wheelchairs may be rented, and you may spend a rather enjoyable day window-shopping. Of course, if she or he does not enjoy this kind of activity, such an outing would do nothing to make the day fun. Find things you and your loved one both enjoy and then plan on doing them together as often as possible.

2. Depending on the illness of your loved one, there are times when her or his mental faculties may diminish. For example, an Alzheimer’s sufferer, or any other patient who suffers from a form of dementia, will experience a decrease in the ability to effectively communicate. At first you may realize that your loved one is searching for the correct word, but later on she or he may have trouble with keeping focus or following her or his train of thought. In times like these it is important to be prepared and keep the conversations easy and without frustrations. You may wish to use shorter sentences yourself, only convey one idea per sentence, keep good eye contact, smile encouragingly, and allow your loved one the time she or he needs to communicate her thoughts. ...

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