Tips For Houston Elder Caregivers Dealing With Alzheimer’s; How to Protect Your Loved One’s Dignity
Acting as a caregiver for someone that you love can be deeply satisfying. When you take on a caregiver role, it helps you develop a deep and lasting bond with the person you are caring for. Oftentimes, however, caregivers find it difficult to perform personal care tasks.
Helping someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease with everyday tasks like bathing, getting dressed, and going to the bathroom can take a toll on your body and your mind. Both caregivers and patients can sometimes feel uncomfortable, as well.
One challenge that goes along with caring for a relative is figuring out how to help them maintain their sense of dignity. The tips below can create a more comfortable situation for both the caregiver and the patient.
A Safe And Dignified Approach To Personal Care
Create the right setting. When setting up the area for grooming or bathing, safety should be your top priority. Take away any loose items like throw rugs that could cause a fall. Install assistive devices such as grab bars on the shower walls and on the walls near the toilet. These bars provide the senior with some independence since they can use them to maneuver on their own. Putting on soothing music can also be beneficial since it creates a more relaxed environment for both the patient and the caregiver.
Schedule bathing tasks only when necessary. Most people have been conditioned to believe that you have to shower or bathe on a daily basis in order to stay clean. In fact, however, most seniors can go much longer than that before they need a bath. Showering or bathing too often can cause problems by increasing the fragility of the skin. Alzheimer’s patients often struggle with water-related fears, which can add to the stress of bathing. When establishing a care schedule, don’t feel like bathing has to be a daily task. Instead, because most seniors are sedentary, they can usually go to or three days before needing to bathe.
Encourage seniors to do things for themselves. Studies have found that the disease progression slows down in Alzheimer’s patients when they are encouraged to perform tasks on their own. If you try to do everything for a senior, they will become overly dependent on you. It is important to find a balance, allowing them to perform tasks that they can do safely on their own. A lot of times, a simple change can make tasks they were struggling with much easier. For instance, buying pants with an elastic waist that they can pull on themselves can allow them to maintain more of their independence. This, in turn, can help them feel more dignified and can improve their self-esteem.
Speak softly. When helping a loved one bathe, try talking to them in a soft, gentle voice about something that they would find interesting. Perhaps you saw a fascinating story on the news or maybe one of your children or grandchildren did something funny. Distracting them with interesting stories can help make the task less uncomfortable for both of you.
Prepare everything ahead of time. The last thing that you want is to make bathing more difficult by having to run around looking for supplies while your loved one waits naked. Prepare everything in advance before you begin. Bring the water to the correct temperature. Have a bathrobe, a towel, and clothing ready to go. That way, they can get dressed immediately after bathing.
Finally, do your best to stay positive and to look at the lighter side of life. Caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s can be difficult and discouraging. The right attitude can go a long way toward making both of you happier.