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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Alzheimer's Quality of Life - Ten Caregiver's Tips

Ten tips for creating the best quality of life for your loved one who has Alzheimer's are offered below. Not only can these tips help an Alzheimer's sufferer to have a better day, but it will help you, as the caregiver, to enjoy your day too.

1. ROUTINE. Establish a regular routine so a daily schedule is followed. If meals, bedtime, and exercising are at regular times confusion and frustration will be decreased.

2. PAIN CONTROL. Alzheimer's sufferers may not be able to communicate or verbalize when they are in pain. Chronic arthritis and other sources of pain need to be addressed by treatment from a medical doctor.

3. MEALS THAT APPEAL. Knowing the foods and cooking styles that the person always enjoyed will help the caregiver prepare favorite foods that will be willingly consumed as well as enjoyed. It makes a big difference in terms of enjoyment and consuming a balanced diet.

4. RESTING COMFORTABLY. Positioning someone who has chronic pain and stiffness from arthritis, joint replacements and other sources is an art. For example, someone sitting in an easy chair with a footstool may feel more comfortable with pillows behind the back and neck, under the arms on the armrests, and/or under the knees on the footstool. Experiment with extra body pillows for comfort in bed to enable a good night's rest.

5. EXERCISE. A regular daily exercise schedule might include a variety of physical therapy and range of motion exercises. The physical therapist can show the caregiver how to assist and provide illustrations of the exercises. Exercise relieves stiffness, pain and stress among other things, and may help to calm agitation.

6. LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR OUTINGS - Plan and prepare ahead because often at the last minute the person suffering from Alzheimer's will think of more things that need to be done before leaving. If you prepare everything, then rest for a half hour or so before actually leaving, this breaks up the flow of activity and allows time to relax before leaving.

7. AVOID CAREGIVER BURN-OUT. Having caregiver relief lets the caregiver have some time out when he or she is not assisting someone or poised to do so. The stress level can become chronic for caregivers and finding a way for relief is critical.

8. ROTATE CAREGIVERS. Each person offers a different specialty and personality. Rotating caregivers can give the Alzheimer's sufferer a change of pace, and relief from boredom. It's important to have good caregiver notes so when the caregivers rotate they can follow the same routine.

9. ACTIVITIES. Finding ways to spend quality time day after day is one of the biggest challenges. Adding a variety of activities will make the day have quality time for the Alzheimer's sufferer, and for the caregiver. Arts and crafts, conversation and visiting, container gardening, puzzles, movies, outings, cooking, and other interests can make a dull day into a good day. Frustration and wandering may be decreased by focusing on involvement with activities.

10. TRAINING CAREGIVERS. Studies have proven that a trained caregiver experiences less stress and is more able to provide quality assistance. Caregivers can contact the Alzheimers Association or the American Foundation for Alzheimers in order to receive training and to join a support group.

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