Our last few posts have been focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, from the symptoms and signs to the possible steps to take as the disease progresses. The National Institute of Aging suggests that as many as 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s, a progressively degenerative brain disease with cognitive and behavioral changes ranging from mild in the beginning stages to very severe late stage manifestations. As the disease progresses, caregivers, families and spouses are faced with many new challenges when caring for a loved one whose changed behaviors are present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As families come to terms with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease for a loved one, caregiving is an important issue to address. While caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease there will be times of normalcy in the early stages, and usually only supportive care will be needed. Memory issues are just one symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, but as the disease advances other behavioral symptoms that can accompany cognitive changes emerge. Here is a list of possible associated behaviors.

  • Depression
  • Aggression…verbally/physically
  • Agitation
  • Delusional beliefs
  • Repetitive questioning
  • Hallucinations
  • Pacing
  • Anxiety…pacing, restless behavior
  • Loss of ability to comprehend language
  • Wandering
  • Sleep issues and disturbances
  • Socially inappropriate actions… i.e. profanity
  • Urinary/ bowel issues

Caregiving will be a challenge when facing these issues, so it is important to have a strong support system. It’s also key to be knowledgeable about this disease; there are plenty of non-medication approaches to improve behavioral symptoms by making changes in the person’s environment and daily life. Adopting some of the following practices will help when dealing with the associated behaviors of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Maintain a sense of calm
  • Reassure and respond to behaviors
  • Remove yourself from situation if you become overwhelmed or stressed out
  • Minimize stress
  • Simplify the environment
  • Communicate calmly
  • Keep to a daily routine
  • Listen attentively
  • Use non-verbal cues
  • Stimulate your elderly loved one with new activities such as music, exercise, storytelling or looking at photos
  • Ignore compulsive behaviors
  • Keep reassuring loved one they are safe, loved and respected

Champion Home Health Care is committed to supporting you and your family if you are in the Melbourne or Palm Bay areas of Brevard County, Florida and need support, relief, and guidance while facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Contact us at 321-608-3838. We offer a full spectrum of senior home health care services to provide you with peace of mind while we work to keep your loved one healthily, happily, and safely in the familiar environment of home.