Do you have a parent who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease? Are you trying to figure out how to care for them while they stay in their home? Alzheimer's can present a wide variety of challenges, both for the person with the disease and for their caretaker. It can also develop rapidly, with new symptoms and struggles appearing out of nowhere. However, with some focused planning and effort, you can help your parent stay in their home for a decent amount of time. Here are three tips to help you do so:
Keep a written notebook and schedule. It's important to document as much as you can about your parent's condition. Write it down when they have moments of memory loss or confusion. By documenting these incidents, you can keep track of how the disease is progressing and whether it's getting serious.
Also, writing it down will help you better manage their care. For instance, you may notice that they're more focused in the mornings and that they seem more confused in the evenings. If that's the case, you may want to schedule doctors appointments, visits with friends, and other activities in the morning. You also may then realize that your parent needs extra care and monitoring in the evening. Keeping a journal can help you focus your time more efficiently.
Keep it simple. Making choices can overwhelm a person with Alzheimer's. While you may not want to dictate every aspect of your parent's life, you also shouldn't provide them with an abundance of choices. For example, pare their wardrobe down to a few simple outfits that are already put together. That way, they just have to choose which outfit they want to wear rather than choosing each article of clothing and accessory. Similarly, only stock their fridge with a few of their favorite meals, preferrably already cooked. That will eliminate their desire to cook their own meal from a bunch of ingredients. While your parent may resist these changes at first, it will make their lives easier in the long run.
Take advantage of technology. Fortunately, you live in a time in which technology can make care much easier. For example, you can get a GPS necklace that they can wear around their neck. That will help you track their movements and find them should they ever wander off. If you're really concerned about them, you could install a camera in their home and then monitor it online while you're at work or while you're dealing with personal activities.
For more information, talk to an Alzheimer's care center. They can provide more tips and advise you on whether it's time for your parent to transition into an Alzheimer's care facility.