A caregiver, just as the name suggests is someone trained and equipped with skills on how to take care of patients with different medical conditions who are not able to take care of themselves. In most cases, caregivers are specialized in a specific field meaning they take care of patients suffering from the ailment they are specialized in. Alzheimer is one such ailment. Alzheimer is a disease of the brain that causes progressive loss of memory, coordination of events, ability to plan, reasoning and general perception. It is known to affect people of over 65 years of age. An Alzheimer caregiver therefore has their work cut out.
Working with these type of symptoms, an Alzheimer caregiver should begin at the onset of the disease. This is to enable the caregiver to keep the patient at the standard of life that they are accustomed to. In the first stages, the care giver just works towards gently helping the patient remember things. As time progresses, the patient will probably start to have fits of emotion and become easily irritable. Here, the caregiver should find ways of keeping the patient calm by for instance - playing a song they have come to learn the patient loves, reading them favorite chapters of one of their favorite books, reminding them of a cherished memory and so on.
Gradually, the patient’s ability to take care of bills and other things that involve figures in a sound way begins to falter until they are no longer able to do it. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to help with these task as well but working as much as possible in a way the patient does not feel as though they are no longer in control.
As the disease progresses the patient will also start getting confused about where they live and how to get there, what day of the week and date of the month it is and so on. Therefore, the Alzheimer caregiver should at this point keep close to the patient at all times to avoid them getting lost or even following the wrong person home.
Later on in the disease, the patient by begin to lose control over bladder and bowel activities. Here, the Alzheimer caregiver will need to help clean them up and can even start keeping a schedule on the times they may need to be taken to the toilet.
Beyond this point in the disease, the patient becomes fully dependent on the caregiver. The Alzheimer caregiver must help the patient eat, clean up, get dressed and go about day to day life. A caregiver is also meant to make this last stage of the patient as pleasant as possible by taking them for walks, reading to them, playing their favorite song, telling them stories they once loved and so on. Death normally follows after this stage but normally it is from other ailments.
Even though many caregivers are trained, you do not have to undergo training to become an Alzheimer caregiver to a family member ailing from this disease. All you need to know is what the patient needs in terms of medication and care. Since you already know them well enough, it should be easier to know exactly what to do to make their life easier and enjoyable as possible.