Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia. The cause remains unknown but it particularly affects an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for day to day memory. Genetic factors may play a part, leaving some families more at risk but it is not directly inherited. There is no simple test for Alzheimer’s, although research shows that the brain cells become coated in an abnormal protein, their internal structure becomes deranged and the transmission of signals between brain cells is lost. As brain cells die, parts of the brain shrink. The common symptoms of Alzheimer’s including losing items around the house, forgetting names and words, getting easily lost in a known place, forgetting appointments and anniversaries, difficulties in solving problems, making decisions and perceiving objects in 3D.
Obviously the onset of Alzheimer’s can be extremely frightening for your patient and regular support is critical. Although symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from individuals, here are a few tips that will be mutually beneficial in guiding your patient through memory loss.
- Encourage your patient to carry a notebook of important patient information, phone numbers, names, ideas they have, appointments, their address, and directions to their home.
- Give them suggestions about how to start talking and interacting with people. For example find links between them and a neighbour or family member to help them make the connection.
- To avoid causing your patient to become frustrated, avoid over correcting them or interrupting them mid speech.
- Respond with a brief explanation. Don’t overwhelm the person with lengthy statements or reasons. Instead, clarify with a simple explanation
- Brain games are a wonderful way to occupy your patients, so working together on wordsearches, cross words and puzzles can be helpful activities.
- Label cupboards and drawers with words or pictures that describe their contents and encourage the patient to keep photos of people they see often, labelled with their names
- Encourage the patient to invite friends and family to visit – it will keep them connected to the wider community, alleviate feelings of isolations and help them to keep track of important events and appointments.
- Encourage the patient to keep photos of people they see often, labelled with their names
All of Promedica24’s live-in care teams are made up of fully trained and skilled care and support workers who are experienced in a range of conditions affecting older people including dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, arthritis and diabetes. For more information please go to http://promedica24.co.uk/ or follow us on the hashtag campaign #noplacelikehome