Educate yourself about the disease: Read books, attend workshops and consult with healthcare professionals.
Learn caregiving techniques: Key areas are communication skills, safety concerns, and managing behavioral challenges and activities of daily living.
Understand the experience of your loved one:Adjust your expectations. Be patient and kind. Know that their personality change is as a result of changes in the brain and are not intentional and aimed at you. Kindness, humor and creativity are essential parts of caregiving. Hugs, hand massage and other gentle physical contact will help your loved one feel connected and loved.
Avoid caregiver burnout. Make time for yourself: Join caregiver support groups. Pursue interests beyond your caregiving role, such as exercise, hobbies, journaling and art.
Maintain your own physical and mental health: Exercise, respite and other activities can reduce stress. Seek medical help if there are signs of depression.
Discuss the situation with family and friends: Support systems are critical.
Do cognitive stimulation activities with your loved one: Listening to music, word puzzles and memory games can easily be done at home. Consult an Occupational therapist for recommended activities for the patient at various stages of the disease.
Manage the patient's environment: Keep things organized and out of the patient's way. Have supporting rails or bars available in the toilet and near the patient's bed to get in and out easily. Avoid lose rugs or clutter on the floor. Keep lighting adequate. ( not too bright and not too dark) Keep external noise around the patient to a minimum, especially while communicating with the patient.
Foster communication with physicians: Be involved in your loved one's medical care. Ask questions about the progression of the disease, express concerns and discuss treatment options.
Take care of financial, legal and long-term care planning issues: Try to involve your loved one in decision-making, if they are still capable of providing input, and consider their wishes related to future care and end-of-life issues.
Communication tips: While communicating, position yourself in good light and at eye level with the patient so the patient can see your face and understand the expressions. Give only one step instruction at a time. Address the patient by his /her name.
General guidelines to deal with aggressive behaviors: Do not push or pull the patient. Reassure him/her by giving home/her something to hold such as a soft towel. The patient understands non verbal language such as facial expression, posture and tone of voice. Hence, use kindness in voice and a kind smile on the face to deal with situations. Try to distract the patient but if not working immediately, leave the patient alone in a safe area for a few minutes and try to approach him again.
Wandering: Keep the outer door locked or bolted with a cabin lock at a height. To identify the patient, sew his name, address and a phone number on the clothing. Inform neighbors and local shops about the patient's condition, seek their help with in returning the patient home by providing your name and address.
Think positive: Focus on your loved one's remaining strengths and enjoy your relationship while you are still able to.
Reach out for care: Call the ARDSI Bangalore chapter. Contact us 9:00 am - 9:00 pm. All working days of the week. Helpline Numbers 9663426565