Relatives and caregivers of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s face many challenges and difficult decisions at every stage of the disease. What the most valuable family can give to a sick person is its presence, support, and understanding that comes with time – along with acquired experience and knowledge. Below are some tips to help you understand and give you confidence in caring for ill patients. Check out the first part of this blog for more helpful information.
If You Can’t Take Care of Them, Look for Other Care Services
At a more advanced stage of the disease, unsupervised living may not be possible. In daily life, most patients with progressive dementia syndrome need to monitor the instrumental activities of everyday life. This includes everything from cooking and helping with laundry to making sure they are taking medication and allowing them to go to the bathroom and swim. If you or someone you trust can’t be around the clock to help with the tasks of daily living, you may need to think about an adult home or working from home. (Incontinence and behaviors that endanger yourself or others are usually signs that full-time help is required)
Families usually have concerns about the reliability of the help or service. Those who work for an agency or institution must be reliable and well-trained, often certified, licensed, and insured. Ask each individual and institution about training and qualifications. If you hire someone on your own, interview the person carefully and check their references and background. It is also worth asking about the relationship between the patient and the caregiver’s staff. Three to one is best, meaning that three patients are assigned to one caregiver. Suppose you only have physical or financial access to an institution where one patient is given many patients. In that case, you may want to check the facility and care, showing unexpected times.
The costs of housing care services and auxiliary premises can be quite expensive and are usually not covered by insurance. Therefore, you may need to try to work out a schedule in which you and/or other trusted friends or family members cover certain days and shifts and fill in the gaps with external care services to save costs.
Assemble Your Medical Team and Identify Their Medical Care
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease will include medication use, planned and consistent visits to the physician, ideally involving specialist specialists, and frequent assessments of medical, physical, and psychosocial needs. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can work with experts in the following medical specialties:
- A geriatrician is a doctor who works with older adults
- A neurologist – a doctor who focuses on abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system and can perform an in-depth neurological assessment and make specific diagnoses of cognitive disorders.
- A neuropsychologist who can perform memory and thinking tests to identify specific human disorders and how they may affect daily functioning
- A psychiatrist or psychologist specializing in the mental and emotional problems of older people with memory and thinking problems and/or the mental health needs of older people and their families
You may not need or choose to work with all of these types of medical providers. Still, it can be helpful if you are interested in working in various areas in preparation for a person’s condition change or progression. The patient’s primary care physician can often make the appropriate referrals to the right types of subspecialists they will need to oversee care and treatment. University centers often have Alzheimer’s research centers with teams of specialists who help to diagnose and then care for Alzheimer’s properly. People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s should be screened at least once a year by medical providers – ideally every six months. Depending on the specific problems and problems that may arise, they may require more frequent and consistent visits with different sub-specialists.