Patience and Empathy: How to Care for Patients Suffering From Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Disease or simply Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects a lot of our elders. The most tell-tale symptoms of the disease is an increasing difficulty in remembering recent events. When Alzheimer’s reaches its advanced stages, people begin to have a change in mood and behavior.
People also experience problems with speech. Elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease often end up disoriented, at times totally forgetting something important such as dates, names, places, time, etc. Self-care deficit problems arise from disorientation which is why there is always a constant need in taking care of them.
Attitude and body language are important in showing care for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. A caregiver should also speak gently so as not to agitate the patient. Using proper facial expressions and gentle touches can effectively convey feelings of concern and empathy towards people who have this condition.
When communicating with seniors that have Alzheimer’s, avoid any distractions such as radio or TV. Curtains and doors must be closed to provide an environment conducive to proper communication. After doing all the necessary work, make sure that a patient has your attention. Speak in a soft tone, address their name, and identify yourself. When seated, it is very effective that a caregiver is at eye level with the patient.
Avoid anything that may provide a sudden reaction such as loud noises and bright flashes of light. If an elderly patient is having a hard time hearing you despite the measures done, do not hesitate to come closer and talk near their ears so that both you and client can properly communicate with each other.
Being direct to the point
Avoid any statement that may be confusing for a patient. If you are doing a procedure, adequately explain all the relevant steps and outcomes that you intend to do and expect. Failure in doing so will only make our loved ones with Alzheimer’s more agitated. Head injuries, hip accidents and other types of mishaps often result from agitated clients.
Patience is a virtue
Sometimes, a patient struggles to come up with an answer to your question. Be patient enough to wait for their reply. Experienced caregivers often give out suggestions that help their clients in coming up with solutions. Watch out for nonverbal cues and respond appropriately.
Sense of Humor
Caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s is a stressful job. Always have patience and a sense of humor when caring for our loved ones. The proper way of having humor is not at one’s or their expense but rather having a more positive outlook on life. People with Alzheimer’s often retain their social skills and jokes may help them laugh despite their situation.
Don’t give out jokes that are complicated. These “complicated” jokes often have a political nature, a scientific basis, or any other joke that needs a lot of comprehensions. These jokes will not make your client laugh and instead, will make them feel more agitated.
A sense of humor appropriate for elderly people with Alzheimer’s would compliment that has something to do with them in their past. Compliments like “Oh hi Martha, you seem to be more beautiful by the day. Maybe that’s a thing with nurses like us, we get prettier every day!” By doing so, you not only help them remember significant facts about themselves but you also nurture your relationship with them as well.
One of the common problems people with Alzheimer’s have is difficulty in sleeping. It is important that the caregiver can promote ways to give them a good night’s sleep.
Among the ways to improve sleep, always make sure that they are in a relaxing environment. It is important for them to have an uninterrupted sleep. Undisturbed sleep is only possible if the environment or bedroom that they sleep in has no potential distractions. Always check for any sources of interruption such as Air Conditioning units which may clunk and do loud noises.
Alzheimer’s disease is common with a lot of elders from around the world. It is important that people know how to handle and care for people with Alzheimer’s and its symptoms. Sleep is an essential for a person’s well-being. Therefore, elderly clients who lack sleep only increase the effects of Alzheimer’s.
A carefully thought out care plan by family members, healthcare providers or caregivers can assist our elders and provide high quality sleep essential for them to recuperate and recover.
Nursing care for geriatric clients can be very stressful. For some, taking care of the elderly is their reward. Sometimes, even seeing a patient smile and be happy for a while is enough for a caregiver going through a tough day.
Though everyone can do it, not all have the calling. Caring for someone other than your family often becomes daunting for other people. Some people have to take care of individuals with advancing age. Health and security are often the common issues that caregivers encounter. With a bit of patience and empathy, caring for people with Alzheimer’s becomes at least rewarding in a way.