SENIOR HOME CARE SERVING ALAMEDA AND CONTRA COSTA COUNTIES
24/7 CARE, HOURLY CARE AND TEMPORARY CARE
Alzheimer’s Care in the East Bay
Serving Seniors in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Alzheimer’s disease, also referred to as AD, is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia refers to a group of cognitive symptoms including
- short and long term memory loss
- trouble completing complex tasks
- difficulty making plans
- trouble finding the right words
- erratic behavior
According to the US Department of Health National Institute on Aging, when a person has AD, amyloid plaques develop between the nerve cells in the brain, making it difficult for the cells to communicate with each other. At the same time, neurofibrillary tangles form inside the brain cells.
These plaques and tangles initially attack the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus, areas of the brain responsible for forming new memories. Therefore, the first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is short-term memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time, attacking and damaging other structures in the brain.
“Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be a stressful, full‐time job. If you are caring for a family member living in the East Bay area of San Francisco, Aging in Place Home Care can help you keep your loved one safe and content at home.”
What Are Some Common Needs of People with Alzheimer’s Disease?
People with Alzheimer’s Disease require different kinds of care depending on how much the disease has progressed. Over the years, at Aging in Place Home Care, we have developed care strategies that work well for people at all stages.
During the first one to three years of living with Alzheimer’s disease, people exhibit short‐term memory loss, but they usually remain fairly independent. Our providers can help by offering supervision and reminders to take medications, shower or bathe or eat healthy meals. During this time, the person with AD may also enjoy simple companionship and activities that he or she finds both enjoyable and meaningful. When we begin work with your loved one, we will ask you about your loved one’s interests and favorite pastimes. All care, of course, is individualized.
In the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease, more parts of the brain are damaged by plaques and tangles. You may notice that your loved one is also having difficulty with long‐term memory as well as with recognizing familiar people and places. Some people begin to wander, walking or driving away from home and then being unable to find their way back. Our caregivers can help by increasing supervision and reminders and assisting with physical care when necessary. A caregiver can also help by establishing and maintaining a daily routine. This helps the person with AD feel more secure. A daily routine also eases fear of the unexpected.
The final stage of Alzheimer’s disease usually lasts between one and three years. Your loved one may no longer be able to walk, to speak coherently or take care of his or her own physical needs. Most of the in‐ home care at this point will involve physical tasks such as dressing, grooming and feeding. We never forget, though, that your loved one is a unique and valuable individual. Our caregivers play familiar music, offer familiar scents and tastes, read aloud from books that your loved one has enjoyed in the past and offer calm, empathetic friendship.
Can Aging in Place Home Care Help with Behavioral Issues?
One of the most difficult experiences for the family and friends of a person with AD is to see that person acting in an unusual or embarrassing way. Our caregivers are aware of these issues and can respond in a helpful, appropriate manner.
Repetitive speech. People with Alzheimer’s disease may repeat themselves frequently, asking the same question or making the same statement over and over. Our caregivers are trained to respond to this behavior in several ways. First, we are quick to offer comfort and reassurance. If verbal reassurance doesn’t seem to help, writing down information such as the date and time of a doctor’s appointment may work better. Second, we offer distractions to take the person’s mind off an upsetting thought.
Third, we observe this behavior over time, looking for patterns. Some people, for instance, have a “go to” thought or question when they’re tired or hungry. Finally, we don’t scold or respond with irritation.
An important part of our job is to give you a break when repetitive speech or other behaviors start to get on your nerves.
Sundowning. Even people in the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease may become more confused in the evening or at night. We have found that it helps to increase daytime activities so that the person is more likely to feel tired and want to sleep when bedtime comes. We also recommend reducing sugar and caffeine in the late afternoon and in the evening. When evening comes, we encourage your loved one to engage in soothing activities or in his or her normal rituals before bedtime. Some people who become more confused at night respond well to having a nightlight or to leaving the light in the hallway on all night. We’ll help you experiment and find the best ways to soothe your loved one.
Disrobing. People in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s may try to remove clothes out in public. This behavior may seem embarrassing, even sexually inappropriate, but the truth is it’s usually an effort to communicate discomfort. Our caregivers are trained to look for causes of public undressing such as having to use the toilet or being too warm. We also offer distraction with an enjoyable activity.
Wandering. People with AD may wander away because they think they need to do something outside the home, such as go to work, or because they are looking for some place that seems familiar. Our caregivers are taught to respond to your loved one’s concerns and to make sure they are comfortable and satisfied at home. We also offer close supervision. You can rest easily knowing that we have our eyes on your loved one.
If you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, make sure you are taking care of yourself as well. Arrange for an Aging in Place Home Care in‐home caregiver to assist in meeting your loved one’s needs. Our caregivers in the East Bay area of San Francisco are carefully trained to offer reliable, empathetic care. They know how important it is to be flexible in meeting your loved one’s unique needs, and they can provide patient, supportive care to your loved one so that you feel comfortable taking a much‐needed break.
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