Alzheimer's home care allows the patient to remain in comfortable surroundings with the people they love, and is often preferable to assisted living or nursing facilities.
Types of Alzheimer's Home Care
There are two primary types of Alzheimer's home care. In some cases, skilled care -- provided by a nurse or other medical practitioner -- is required, but more often, the caregiver is a companion, friend or family member.
Even with non-skilled care, a nurse or therapist is usually appointed to monitor the patient and provide services as needed. If the caregiver is a friend or family member who lives with the patient, a nurse or therapist will usually come by every so often to administer occupational or physical therapy. This helps the patient maintain motor function and learn to live with the changes they are experiencing.
Communicating with an Alzheimer's Patient
Perhaps the most important aspect of Alzheimer's care giving in a home care setting is communication. Without effective communication, the patient and caregiver will not understand one another, and needs will not be met. According to the National Institutes of Health, caregivers should communicate respectfully, but with simple words and instructions. If you talk down to your patient, or treat him as though he is unable to think for himself, you will likely breed resentment and discontent. However, it is a good idea to make communication as easy as possible, giving him plenty of time to respond to questions, and helping him find words he may have forgotten.
Many times, home care for Alzheimer's patients require the caregiver to help the patient with daily activities. She might need assistance with bathing, eating, drinking, dressing or walking from one place to another. It is important to keep tabs on how she is doing, both mentally and physically. The NIH suggests keeping a schedule for daily activities to help patients remember what happens next. In some cases, caregivers can wait until they are asked for assistance, but some patients will not willingly ask for help. In those situations, caregivers may need to be assertive in Alzheimer's home care.
Just because a patient has Alzheimer's Disease does not mean he is unable to engage in entertaining activities. From card games to simple exercises, staying active physically and mentally can help maintain high spirits as well as strength. NIH Senior Health cautions that caregivers should watch out for frustration or irritation on the part of the patient when engaged in entertainment or exercise. It is a good idea to offer to help if the patient is having difficulty, or to suggest an alternate activity of which he or she is capable.
Alzheimer's home care is a good way to keep patients feeling positive and energetic, as most people are more comfortable in familiar surroundings. However, it is important to obtain help where it is needed; if one caregiver is insufficient, additional assistance may be required.