Alzheimer’s care: Simple tips for daily tasks
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s requires patience and flexibility. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may still be able to live and function independently. However, the ability to handle daily tasks will dwindle as the disease progresses. Consider practical tips to help your loved one maintain comfort and dignity as he or she becomes more dependent on you or other caregivers.
A person who has Alzheimer’s may react with frustration, agitation and even aggression when once-automatic tasks become difficult or impossible. To limit challenges and ease frustration, consider these tips:
- Schedule wisely. Establish a routine to make each day more predictable and less confusing. Schedule the most difficult tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, for the time of day when your loved one tends to be most calm and agreeable.
- Take your time. Expect things to take longer than they used to. Schedule more time to complete even simple tasks so that you don’t need to hurry your loved one.
- Involve your loved one. Allow your loved one to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, perhaps he or she can dress alone if you lay out the clothes in the order they go on.
- Limit choices. The fewer the options, the easier it is to decide. For example, provide two outfits to choose between — not a closet full of clothes.
- Provide simple instructions. When you ask your loved one to do something, do it one step at a time.
- Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations so that your loved one can better focus on the task at hand.
Your loved one’s ability to function and cope will steadily decline. It may even vary from day to day. Try to stay flexible and adapt your routine as needed.