Thursday, December 5, 2013

Handle People With Alzheimer'S

Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive brain disorder, is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. By gradually destroying brain cells, Alzheimer’s disease causes problems with memory, behavior and thought processes. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s grow steadily worse over time, beginning with an increasing level of forgetfulness, then progressing steadily towards much more severe cognitive symptoms, with sufferers in the late stages often becoming unable to recognize those around them or handle such basic tasks as eating without assistance. Managing the care of people with Alzheimer's requires close attention to many details that family members without experience with the disease may not anticipate.


1. Assess safety issues regularly. Any number of everyday activities can become hazards as Alzheimer's disease progresses. Changes can come quickly as this disease runs its course, so a person who can manage daily activities safely today may become unable to be left to their own devices quite suddenly. Even in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, judgment can become impaired. Forgetfulness can be the cause of many dangers, such as fires caused by a pan of food on the stove, or hours spent wandering in the cold because the way home has been forgotten.

2. Pay close attention to basic heath and nutrition. People with Alzheimer's may forget to eat, or may forget that they have already done so. They may eat food that is unsafe, having been kept in the refrigerator longer than is healthy. If the Alzheimer's sufferer lives alone, checking the contents of the refrigerator and pantry on a regular basis is wise. Be sure to watch for marked changes in body weight.

3. Monitor their medications. People with Alzheimer's may forget to take necessary medications, or they may not remember taking them and repeat the dosage multiple times. They can forget doctor's instructions, or forget to keep medical appointments to have crucial prescriptions renewed.

4. Check into financial matters, making sure that accounts have been kept up to date. People with Alzheimer's often lose track of time, getting behind in paying the bills. In the case of utilities, such as heat, electricity and telephone, many companies will allow family members to be notified if payments fall behind, ensuring that these essential services are not interrupted. Discussing legal arrangements, such as a power of attorney designation, to allow family members to handle financial affairs, is often a necessary step.

5. Research the stages of Alzheimer's to learn what to expect as the disease progresses. While every person who is affected by Alzheimer's is different, the disease does tend to follow a relatively predictable pattern. Knowing the symptoms to watch for as the disease runs its course can help family members anticipate problems before they become hazardous to the health and well-being of those with Alzheimer's. Information on the stages and symptoms of Alzheimer's is readily available on the Internet, and Alzheimer's support groups can also be a great source of information.

Tags: Alzheimer disease, family members, with Alzheimer, allow family, allow family members