Senior Care for Alzheimer’s Patients
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may be feeling devastated and overwhelmed. Alzheimer’s can be difficult to deal with, causing personality changes and robbing the patient of cherished memories. But with the proper support your family can remain strong, while providing care, comfort, and love to the person with dementia.
First, while you may be tempted to take on all caregiver duties for your loved one. This is generally not a good idea. By immersing yourself in caregiving, you upset the natural balance of your relationship with the person who has Alzheimer’s. You also run the risk of exhaustion, and of making yourself ill.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, so it’s best to begin by taking small steps to get the help you need. Keep in mind that your family’s needs will evolve, so regular re-evaluation will be necessary.
Hiring a Personal Support Worker
First, find an agency that provides skilled and experienced personal support workers or PSWs. By engaging a PSW shortly after diagnosis, your loved one will have an opportunity to bond with him or her, and your caregiver will have a chance to get to know your family member.
A PSW can augment the care you or other family members provide. You could, for example, book a PSW for a few hours each day. This will give you a chance to leave the house to socialize, shop, go for a walk, or do errands. During this time the PSW can attend to your loved one’s needs – such as bathing, or grooming – or he/she can do household chores or cook nutritious meals. A PSW can even take the client out to an adult day centre or to medical appointments.
Some of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s include:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Anger and aggression
- Anxiety and agitation
- Sleep issues and “sundowning”
- Delusions or hallucinations
It can be difficult for family members not to react emotionally when dealing with some of these symptoms. However, trained personal support workers who have experience with home care and dementia patients know a number of strategies to cope with these manifestations of the disease.
As time goes on, you may find that you need more help. Many home care agencies provide PSWs that will spend the night, allowing you to get enough rest, and some even provide live-in caregivers. As well, should your loved one move to a retirement home, a dedicated PSW can work for him or her there.
Getting the Help You Need
Working with a top-notch home care agency can ensure that your loved one receives the type of care he or she deserves. Choose a home care agency that has high standards for hiring workers. PSWs should have:
- A certificate from a PSW training course from a recognized college.
- A recent police check on file.
- Experience with dementia patients.
- References from previous jobs.
- Sufficient liability and dishonesty insurance.
- A valid Workers Compensation Clearance Certificate.
Contact a home care provider today and get the help you need to care for your family member.
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care