In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may still be able to perform the tasks that allow a person to live and function independently. Inevitably, though, as the disease progresses and cognition declines, these responsibilities increasingly will fall to you.
Frustration, agitation and even aggression are common reactions when tasks that once came easily become difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s. As you help your loved one with eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and going to the bathroom, find ways to make his or her limitations less frightening and frustrating for both of you.
–Involve your loved one in tasks as much as possible. Some people can still choose an outfit if they’re given only two choices, rather than a closet full of clothes.
–Reassess the level of assistance that’s required daily. For example, can your husband shave by himself if you set out his supplies? Or can he shave by himself if you turn on an electric razor and put it in his hand? Or does he need you to provide assistance with the entire task?
–Strive for balance between periods of rest and activity. Minimize activity later in the day when your loved one is more likely to be tired.
(Source: Mayo Clinic, online at www.mayoclinic.com.)