If you are providing Alzheimer's care to a loved one in your home, you will need to learn how to reduce his or her risk for developing bedsores, or decubitus ulcers. People suffering from Alzheimer's disease are cognitively impaired and may not have the ability to take care of their skin in ways necessary to prevent skin breakdown. Here are three ways to reduce your loved one's risk for bedsores.
1. Change Position
People needing Alzheimer's care may not realize that they need to change position every couple of hours or so in order to reduce undue pressure on bony prominences such as the heels, elbows, hips, and spine. When pressure is not relieved by position changes, the skin will begin to turn red, and eventually, will start to break down, leading to a bedsore.
If the Alzheimer's patient has the ability to follow verbal commands or cues, you can gently request that he or she changes position. If, however, they are unable to understand, or change position independently because of limited mobility, you will have to assist him or her.
2. Encourage Fluids
Elderly people and those with dementia may be at a heightened risk for dehydration, which is an important risk factor in the development of bedsores and skin breakdown. Offering your loved one fluids on a regular basis will help stave off dehydration while promoting healthy skin.
If the individual has dry skin, sunken eyes, a dry mouth, or scant urinary output, dehydration may be present. If the person refuses fluids, or if dehydration becomes severe, notify the physician because hospitalization may be recommended so that intravenous fluid therapy can be initiated.
3. Try Vitamin C
Nutrients such as vitamin C help promote healthy skin and collagen production. Vitamin C may help prevent skin breakdown in your loved one, and while consuming foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables are the preferred way to get your recommended daily allowance, the Alzheimer's patient may not be able to tolerate them.
In these cases, talk to the healthcare provider about recommending an over-the-counter vitamin C supplement to help protect your loved one's skin. It is important that the physician recommend the appropriate dose because if people take dosages that are too high, side effects such as hair loss, heartburn, stomach upset, and diarrhea can occur.
If you need help caring for your loved one suffering from Alzheimer's, call the physician to learn about resources that can help. While caring for your loved one in your home may seem like the best option, an assisted living or nursing home facility may be better equipped to provide care to the patient who has advanced dementia coupled with complex medical problems.
For more information, contact a company like Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living.