Home health care for patients with Alzheimer’s is more specialized than standard home health care for seniors. Caring for a senior with a degenerative brain disease can be demanding, so when seeking in-home health care, it’s best to find a specialist familiar with the stages of the disease.
Alzheimer’s patients move through several stages of the disease over the course of many years. Not all patients progress at the same rate, but they will experience similar milestones, and their care needs will evolve as the disease progresses.
This is the most independent stage and patients in this stage are usually able to go about their daily life with little to no change. Home care providers in this stage usually help patients by setting up a routine and supervising things like household chores and safety, medication intake and appointments. This stage of Alzheimer’s is the necessary planning stage, since the disease is degenerative and cannot be cured.
During middle-stage Alzheimer’s, more care is required since memory becomes more affected. Mood swings are common and reasoning skills can be diminished. At this stage, it is difficult to recognize unfamiliar faces or navigate out of an unfamiliar area. Patients with middle-stage Alzheimer’s require assistance with daily living, hygiene, medication intake and managing the household. A regular routine is part of what a home health care provider delivers at this stage to help minimize stress and anxiety.
During late-stage Alzheimer’s, regular supervision is required and drop-in visits are no longer adequate to keep seniors at this stage healthy and safe. In some cases, at this point it is best to move into a memory care facility where seniors can be supervised and protected. Late-stage manifests with extreme confusion, possible hallucinations, difficulty communicating verbally and unpredictable behavior.
Benefits of a home health care provider
Having a home health care provider who is experienced in handling patients with Alzheimer’s is crucial to their safety and wellness.
Being able to understand the disease, recognize signs of progression or changes in behavior and having the patience to interact with someone with the disease all contribute to the senior’s well-being.
Caregivers also sometimes require a break or professional help because patients with Alzheimer’s are very labor intensive. The process of handling and managing the disease can be an emotional one.
Staying in-home can improve senior well-being
In-home care also puts off the need to move the senior to a care facility. Keeping them in familiar surroundings can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety and keep seniors calm and happy.
Additionally, being in a familiar area can provide other resources, such as friends and neighbors, who can check on seniors and make sure they are doing okay.
Home health care has many advantages for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. The one-on-one care provided by an expert can help reduce feelings of loneliness and give both the family and the senior being cared for a trusted resource for information. Caregivers can also benefit by having someone else to share the physical and emotional workload.