Caring for sufferers of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease comes with a very specific set of challenges. Three stages of care are needed with these diagnoses, and they grow, evolve and change as the disease progresses. Each stage comes with its own unique challenges, as well. Whether a person is in the early or late stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a skilled, licensed caregiver is beneficial in helping the individual transition and adapt to a new way of life.
Stage One Care
This is the beginning stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can last for years, and may present minor changes to a person’s learning and cognitive capabilities. Most people are able to function and engage in normal activities during Stage One. As a caregiver in this stage, you’re primarily needed for support, companionship, and help with planning for the future, as well as making small lifestyle changes, assisting with medications, recalling memories (dates, names, places), keeping appointments, and managing finances.
It’s important to help bring out the talents and strengths of a person in the first stage of dementia, and to support their independence as much as possible. Encouraging and assisting the person to express their feelings and locate a support group is also beneficial. This is the time to make all necessary legal and financial decisions for the future.
Stage Two Care
During the second stage, the level of care is going to increase. This may be the stage that you’ll want to seek extra support in caring. This is when damage begins to show in the brain, and the person may not think the same way, or perform the tasks they used to be able to on their own. There’s also a chance that the individual will behave in peculiar ways, become upset more often and have a difficult time speaking in sentences that make sense. Help with hygiene and driving may be needed.
This is a good time to adopt lifestyle changes and to keep up a solid routine. The level of care required may be demanding during this stage, and it’s important for a caregiver to take good care of themselves and exercise patience.
Stage Three Care
During the final stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s, a person requires care 24/7. This stage may last only weeks, or several years. The person will eventually lose the ability to communicate, and may require assistance with walking. Eating and swallowing becomes difficult, and the risk of infections increases. There’s still a possibility that this person can connect with familiar scents, sounds, music, foods, nature, sunshine, and old photographs.
It’s helpful to monitor the weight and caloric intake during this stage, and to help with range of motion exercises if the person in need of care is confined to a chair. Keeping the person comfortable and upright is important, as is ensuring they’re not in pain. Someone in stage three may need to be fed, and assisted in going to the bathroom. Setting consistent bathroom times is important, as is limiting liquids before bed. This person may require bathing, and may need to be lifted at times. This is the stage where it’s essential to have extra care.
Are you or someone you know suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and in need of some extra support? With MD Home Health, you can expect to find licensed professionals in Phoenix, Arizona to assist you with your home care needs 24/7.