Keeping a Loved One with Alzheimer’s at Home

Not everyone who has Alzheimer’s will ultimately need nursing home care. My mom had Alzheimer’s, and we were able to keep her at home for the duration of her illness.

If you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia and would like to continue providing care at home, here are some tips.

Take safety measures. For example, remove clutter, throw away cigarettes and lighters, ensure adequate lighting, lock up guns and medications, and create wheelchair pathways.

Enlist help. People with Alzheimer’s need help with everyday things like bathing, dressing, shaving, and brushing their teeth. If you don’t have family members who are there all the time to assist you, you may want to think about home care services. Home care providers can also help with things like cognitive stimulation, meal preparation and feeding, transportation, and light household cleaning.

Learn to communicate. Interacting with someone with Alzheimer’s can be difficult. It’s important to be patient and not ask questions that require short-term memory to answer. There are also some things you shouldn’t say. For example, you wouldn’t want to remind your mom that your dad or your grandmother died, no matter how long ago it was.

Provide activities. It’s important for people with Alzheimer’s to stay as socially engaged as possible. So you’ll want to come up with activities where he or she can be included. Some examples include listening to music, looking at old photographs, or doing crafts.

Control wandering. You’ll need to secure your home so you won’t find your mom taking a walk—or even worse—a drive around Kansas City. Installing locks up high and alarms on exits can help.

Serve nutritious meals. A balanced diet can decrease behavioral symptoms in people with Alzheimers, as well as keep the body healthy. Serve lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products.

Get respite. You can’t take care of someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. And part of that is taking a break once in awhile. If you don’t have a friend or family member who can cover for you when you need to get away, get respite care from home care providers.

Not everyone who has Alzheimer’s will require nursing home care. These tips can help you keep your loved one at home.