TOP 10 QUESTIONS ASKED BY ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION
can l do to get my loved one to bathe?
A. This problem is very
typical for those who are diagnosed with dementia. There may be
no real cause for the resistance, but try to determine if there
is. For instance, is the water too hot or too cold? Look at environmental
causes, can they locate the bathroom? Is the room too cold? Is the
water too deep? Is the person sensitive to having others in the
room or are they afraid to get their head wet? Try to adapt the
room before hand. Be prepared by having the needed clothing items,
shampoo and water ready and tested before getting the person to
enter the room.
B. Be creative in your approach.
For example, "it's time for your spa, will you walk with me?"
(Then guide them to the door). Be directive in your approach. For
example "Your bath is ready" or "it's time for your bath."
C. Alternatives work very
well. For example, sponge baths in their room, peaceful music to
relax them, liquid soap instead of bar soap, sing while bathing
or sing while on the way to the bathroom. Make it fun!
Medicaid pay for someone with Alzheimer's disease?
A. No, not unless
other diagnoses are present which cause a health or safety risk.
do I take the car keys away from the person, and how do I know when
it's time to do this?
A. Watch for warning signs,
such as forgetting how to get to familiar places, not following
safety signs, poor judgment, unsafe driving, speed not right for
the conditions, easily confused or an accident.
B. If an accident occurs,
take the keys away immediately. Acknowledge the loss with the person,
get his or her doctor involved to help make the decision. Be firm,
avoid arguments and lengthy discussions. Solicit the support of
others to reinforce the decision and/or have the physician write
a letter to the state requesting that the license be revoked.
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can I get to come into the home to stay with the person?
A. Home health agencies
will come to your home to help in a variety of areas such as bathing,
administering medications and doing activities with the person.
Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance does not usually cover these
types of services. There is also usually a fee associated with the
services. Another option is contacting local churches, neighbors
and other family members. The Alzheimer's Association in your area
will have a complete list of agencies and resources.
I tell the person the diagnosis is Alzheimer's disease?
A. The ultimate decision
to inform or not to inform the person rests with the family. Some
things to remember are to respect the person's right to know what
is wrong yet be sensitive to their feelings, emotional state and
ability to remember what has been told to them. The person
may suspect something, and without an explanation he or she may
expect the worst. The person may feel relieved to know what is wrong
with them and learn it's a physical illness. An informed person
may want to participate in medical, legal, financial, and personal
planning for the future. Rely on professional experience, involve
the physician. Reassure the person and treat them as an adult,
don't down play the disease and diagnosis.
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the emotions of guilt and anger I am feeling normal?
A. These are very normal
feelings. Your local Alzheimer's Association can direct you to support
groups where you can talk about these feelings and learn that you
are not alone.
is the best time to put someone in a supervised living situation,
such as a Personal Care Home or Nursing Home?
A. There is no right or
wrong time to make this move. Safety is the most important
area to evaluate. Is this person safe in their current living arrangement?
The next thing to remember is your health. Can you continue to care
for the person without sacrificing your physical, mental, emotional
and financial well being? Prior to placement, investigate
what types of residences are located in your area. The Alzheimer's
Association is a good resource in this area. Don't wait until there
has been a crisis to start looking.
do I control the person's outburst of anger and rage?
A. Try to identify the immediate
cause. Listen and go with the flow. Don't power struggle with the
person even if what they say is wrong. Don't try to control,
try to manage the behavior. Focus on their feelings, not facts.
Avoid getting angry or upset. Be positive and reassuring.
Speak slowly with a soft tone of voice. Treat them like the adults
they are. Limit distractions and noise levels. Offer rest periods
in the afternoons, (but not all day). Get the person involved in
activities. Change the focus to another activity especially if the
prior situation or activity caused the agitation. Accept the behavior
as a reality of the disease. Always, always, listen to them even
if they are hard to understand. Listen to their body language and
facial expressions. If speech problems exist, offer choices to solve
does the person with Alzheimer's disease ask the same question over
and over, and how do I deal with it?
A. Repetitive actions are
often harmless for the diagnosed person but can he very frustrating
for the caregiver. Remember that the disease causes this behavior.
People with dementia have no short-term memory, so they do not remember
what they asked you just minutes before.
B. Respond to the emotion,
not the behavior. For example, if the person is repeatedly asking
if it is time to go, talk about where they want to go instead of
just saying no it is not time yet. This sometimes will cause
the question to not be asked as frequently. Stay calm and patient.
Take frequent breaks if you can. Give the person a task to complete.
Household chores, with supervision such as dusting (do not use chemicals,
these can he unsafe), or sweeping and folding clothes can be very
good activities for the person. Answer the question even if you
have to repeat it several times.
What can I do when my siblings won't accept the disease and won't
agree on what I want to do to help my relative?
A. There are several
stages of adjustment when coping with Alzheimer's disease. They
are denial, over-involvement, anger, guilt and acceptance. Family
members will move through these stages at different rates. Since
it can be frustrating for a sibling that has begun to accept the
disease to understand when others are still in denial, it is important
for family members to communicate with one another and express their
feelings and concerns and learn to compromise. This will be
the only way a family can make the best possible decision for the
person with the disease. As a family member, educate yourself about
the disease. Having flexibility, patience and understanding all
play key roles in helping your family cope with the disease. If
a compromise cannot be reached, professional assistance such as
family counseling may offer relief. Get the physician involved.
They may be able to write a letter to the other family member. Get
involved in a support group. These are helpful in learning what
other families in the same situation have done.