Whether you have cared for someone with Alzheimer’s in their Minnesota home for many years or have just learned that a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease, managing their behavior and personality changes can be very challenging. You may have already figured out that, as a caregiver, you cannot change the person with Alzheimer’s, or any type of dementia, but you can develop strategies to help you better manage any problem behaviors. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
It’s important to know that the patient is not trying to be difficult. Instead their behavior is often a reaction to stress or frustration in an attempt to communicate. Creating a calming routine and environment for the patient at home along with the way you communicate with them will make a huge difference. The Alzheimer’s Association offers their top five tips that can help you manage your loved one’s behaviors.
- Try not to take behaviors personally.
- Remain patient and calm.
- Explore pain as a trigger.
- Don’t argue or try to convince.
- Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.
Keeping these tips in mind when caring for a loved one or patient with Alzheimer’s is important. At First Nations Home Health, we offer many services and programs to assist with the care of those struggling with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. One service we offer is psychiatric home care. This specialty is holistic in its approach, assessing for and addressing the total needs of the patient – physical and emotional. Not only does the patient benefit, the family also benefits by learning new skills to help their loved one remain stable. The health care system benefits from psychiatric home care by maintaining the patient who struggles with persistent psychiatric issues in the least restrictive (and least expensive) setting, which is the home.
First Nations also offers support for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia through our Alzheimer’s Whisperer program. We understand how overwhelming and difficult it can be to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Confusion, exhaustion and frustration are all common when trying to manage challenging behaviors associated with these illnesses. First Nations Home Health developed a comprehensive and effective Alzheimer’s and dementia home care program, and is proud to offer this program to assist the caregivers and patients alike. Becoming an Alzheimer’s Whisperer is a unique approach to help support those affected by dementia that live in a home or assisted living setting. The Alzheimer’s Whisperer program is based on the understanding of how the disease affects the brain allowing caregivers to modify interventions so they are appropriate for the person’s cognitive ability. Services are provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting of registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, speech pathologists and home health aides, who work together to improve the quality of life for the caregiver and their loved one.
Other care services we at First Nations Home Health offer are:
- Individualized assessment, evaluating cognitive and functional levels
- Treatment planning
- Care for patients in a compassionate, empathetic and gentle manner
- Teach families and caregivers strategies for managing the care needs of their loved one
- Effectively respond to challenging behaviors such as aggression, agitation, and repetition
- Address physical health needs
- Medication management and education
- Reduce utilization of psychotropic medication
- Strength development and fall risk reduction
- Promote independence in dressing, bathing and toileting
- Assistance with memory, communication and swallowing difficulties
Although your loved one’s sense of what is real may be different than yours, it is still very real to them. By learning to manage the behavior changes you will find yourself reaching some pretty significant goals in the care of your patient. You may notice decreased hospitalizations or use of emergency services, improved functional ability and patient knowledge about their medications, treatment compliance and staying well. All of which can increase your loved one’s quality of life and overall health management.
As a caregiver, even being able to maintain your sense of humor will go a long way in managing the changing behavior of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s. When that isn’t doing the trick, we at First Nations Home Health are here for you with expert services and programs available to help you through the stages of progressing Alzheimer’s.
For more information contact First Nations directly by calling 612-871-3700.