Added on January 5, 2018 by Lydia_Chan
According to Helpguide.org, there are approximately 15 million people in the U.S. caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. There are millions more around the world currently caring for a loved one with this debilitating disease. And the job is far from easy. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's typically leaves you feeling tired and overwhelmed. Assisted living facilities are better equipped to care for an Alzheimer's patient, as these types of facilities feature round-the-clock care provided by multiple staff members. Residents participate in social activities and are kept safe throughout the day and night. In other words, the responsibility doesn't rest on one person's shoulders.
But if you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer's, the hard work and accompanying stress is yours and yours alone. You don't have a one-hour lunch break or a staff of 20 people working together to care for the elderly patient. Being a caregiver in your home is a tough job that's not for the faint of heart. To make matters worse, your home is not usually equipped to successfully care for an Alzheimer's patient. If you've made the decision to care for a relative with Alzheimer's in your home, here are some tips to prepare and improve your house.
Alzheimer's patients lack the skills necessary to keep themselves safe. They may wander out the front door and get lost or forget how to use the microwave. For this reason, it's crucial that you take preventative measures in order to ensure the safety of your loved one. Examine all the rooms of your home, evaluating which areas may be potential hazards. Are there any wires or objects that can trip someone? Do you have medications the Alzheimer's patient may try to take even if he or she is not supposed to? Maybe your garage has power tools that need to be placed in a secure location. These are all factors you need to consider before a loved one with Alzheimer's enters your home.
There are many tasks you may need to do in order to protect your elderly relative from harm. For example, install deadbolts on your exterior doors so your loved one can't wander out of the house and get lost. Place the locks high or low so that they are not easily detected. According to the Mayo Clinic, caregivers should "consider removing locks from the bathroom doors to prevent your loved one from accidentally locking himself or herself in."
Install safety features for the shower,
including a shower seat and grab bars. Purchase non-skid mats or strips for the
bathtub, shower, and bathroom floor. Adding these items will help prevent loved
ones from falling when they bathe.
Of course, extensive renovations will be expensive. Investigate disability grants that might help you pay for remodeling. You can also search for grants to help you afford in-home care such as visiting nurses, nursing assistants, and physical therapists.
If you are preparing to become a caregiver, preventing dangerous situations within the home isn't the only way to make your home ready for your loved one. It's important to build a support network to help you deal with the stress and physical exhaustion that goes along with caring for your aging family member.
You can do this by reading books about caring for an Alzheimer's patient as well as locating workshops you can attend to gain more information about the disease and the challenges you will face. Don't be shy about asking help from friends, family, and community organizations. Whether it's having someone help you with the laundry, cooking dinner, or just sitting with your loved one while you take some time for yourself, reaching out to others for assistance is key to avoiding burnout and declining health.
It isn't easy caring for someone with Alzheimer's. Watching someone you love deal with the gradual loss of memory and independence is painful. If you decide to care for an Alzheimer's patient in your home, it's important to prepare for the task by clearing your home of any potential hazards. Alzheimer's patients that don't receive 24-hour care can easily get hurt, so it's your job to ensure they receive the proper supervision and emotional support. Learning how to be an effective caregiver and finding support from family, friends, and community organizations will provide you with the tools you need to take care of a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer's.
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