Although making the decision to bring in a professional to care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s is not always an easy one, it can be a positive step for your family. There are certain benefits a professional caregiver certified in Alzheimer’s care could provide you and your loved one, such as:
• Assistance maintaining routine and activities; helping to keep the client active and engaged.
• Providing support and rest for the family members; helping to maintain the health and wellbeing of caregivers.
• Allowing your loved one to age comfortably in their own home rather than having to relocate to a care facility.
• Managing the physical aspects of care. The professional caregiver is trained to properly transfer and lift a person, provide bathing or grooming with dignity, manage incontinence, assist with medication reminders and more to keep your loved one safe.
• Ensuring good nutrition and overall health and wellbeing; spotting possible concerns or changes.
• Understanding of the disease and behaviors; ability to manage and redirect a client who may become agitated, worried or paranoid.
When hiring a professional, some preparation is needed. Not only will you need to prepare your loved one, but the caregiver will also require certain information about their new client in order to provide the most quality care possible. In order to ensure that your loved one is comfortable, we recommend that you share the following information about your loved one with their new home caregiver:
• Their daily routine – An elderly person with Alzheimer’s typically does not react well to their routine being changed. Make sure that the caregiver is aware of what your loved one is used to doing everyday and how they do it. If he or she eats the same thing every morning or always has coffee with a lot of creamer, list these facts out for the caregiver. They are much more likely to accept a new person in their home if everything else remains the same.
• Medical history and preferences – Most home care providers will gather a thorough medical history. As a caregiver, this is useful to have organized and you may wish to keep a health notebook or use one of the many online tools for this. Make sure that the caregiver is well aware of your loved one’s allergies and sensitivities, list of medications and routine, other providers who may be visiting the home (therapist, nurse), doctors and diagnoses, surgeries, hospital preference, emergency contacts, etc.
• Behavioral patterns – A home caregiver should have full knowledge of not only your loved one’s medical history, but also their history of behavior. Perhaps mom or dad has done something out of character, but only once or twice. The new caregiver should be made aware of this so they a) know that it is not a normal behavior b) know the best way to react in the situation. If they become upset, the caregiver can benefit from knowing ways you have been able to calm them down and diffuse the situation.
• Background – Give the home care agency some information about your loved one’s history, i.e. career, family, where they grew up, favorite activities, songs and hobbies. This information can be very useful in conversations and engaging the client. With Alzheimer’s disease, short-term memory is often poor; while long-term history often remains. Reminiscing can be a positive activity. The caregiver may find ways to engage your loved one in activities related to their interests, even if some of their old hobbies are difficult for them to do currently.
• Activities that they enjoy – Make sure that the caregiver knows what your loved one enjoys to do. Make them aware of fun things that they can do together, or activities that will keep your loved one active both physically and mentally. This will also have a positive impact on how quickly your loved one becomes comfortable with their new caregiver. Don’t forget to consider favorite foods or treats, as this may be a way a home health caregiver can connect and can also be upsetting if they do not prepare things as the person prefers.
If you have questions about Alzheimer’s home care or would like to schedule a free home care consultation, contact us today.