When Alzheimer's and other dementias disrupt the brain, a person will eventually lose the ability to sequence activities of daily living (ADLs). The family caregiver often finds this stage of caregiving the most challenging as they try to deal with the emotional outbursts and physical challenges that are likely to happen when a family member is beginning to forget how to take care of basic hygiene functions, activites that adults keep private.
Tips for assisting a person with increasing cognitive loss will be discussed at the Nov 12, 2012 caregiver support group meeting at Statesboro First United Methodist Church, at 1:30pm. Concerned caregivers are encouraged to attend these small group, confidential sessions held the second Monday of each month in the church library.
Some ideas for assisting with bathing and dressing include: Purchase clothing that is easy to put on and take off, solid colors that mix and mathch well and gradually clear the closet of inappropriate clothing...simplify the choices.
Protect clothing during mealtime by using a big shirt or apron over regular clothing...make it a family routine.
Put washable chair covers in frequently used chairs and car seats as well as on the bed.
Use no-rinse shampoo and soap for cleaning if the person is now frightened by the shower spray. Give them something to hold while you assist with bathing.
It is normal to feel stress about attending to the personal care of a loved one, especially one of the opposite sex.
Gather the materials in advance for a bath then say, "Let's wash up" not "take a bath", let them do as much as possible.
Use large beach towels heated in the dryer to cover the person's body and reach under the towels to wash private parts...start with the feet, hands, arms and legs before approaching the face.
Put less food on the plate at a time, use weighted dishes and utensils,use finger food more, cut up meat in advance, not at the table.
"Caring Closet" at Outreach Center in Statesboro provides some free incontinence supplies such as Depends and salve for caregivers.
For more info and ideas, attend an Alzheimer's Association support group or contact the Association at 1-800-272-3900 or www.alz.org/georgia
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