Alzheimer’s is a progressive memory loss disease that affects a person’s ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate, and perform daily functions. It’s difficult watching those we care for struggle to perform daily activities. At Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health, we’re here to provide support for those with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and loved ones.
Supporting people with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease involves a team of people who provide caregiving, support, and assistance with decision making. As a caregiver, it’s important to develop a daily care plan that may alter depending on the stage of the disease. The plan should consist of social, physical, and mental activities as well as chores, mealtimes, and personal care.
When developing a plan, consider:
- A person’s interests, abilities, and physical limitations
- Extra time for meals, bathing, and dressing
- Consistent times for waking up and going to sleep
- The times of day a person functions best
Be mindful to use encouragement and consider activities that require minimal direction.
Approach activities by:
- Offering support and supervision
- Concentrating on the process versus the result
- Being flexible and adaptive
- Breaking the activity into simple, easy-to-follow steps
- Assisting with difficult parts of the task
- Engaging in conversation
- Don’t be afraid to try again later if something isn’t working
Art and music activities are great options to encourage self-expression, creativity, and stimulation. Music activities can provide a sense of connection, even if verbal communication has become difficult.
Communication is important for people with Alzheimer’s
It can be difficult communicating with a loved one who is suffering from memory loss. Someone with Alzheimer’s may be overwhelmed by stimulation and may have trouble articulating their thoughts.
Tips for successful communication
- Listen carefully
- Don’t make assumptions about a person’s ability to communicate
- Give the person enough time to respond and don’t interrupt
- Discuss their ideal communication methods
Remember, it’s okay to laugh and keep the conversation light. Your mood can significantly impact a person’s ability to communicate.
At Phelps, we offer compassionate support for you and your loved ones
At Phelps, we recognize the challenges for those with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones; that’s why we offer an Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support group in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide emotional, educational, and social support for those caring for people with dementia and other degenerative brain conditions.
Those who have Alzheimer’s, confusion, or memory loss may benefit from Phelps’ Mind Games program, which is part of the Senior Vitality curriculum. The Mind Games curriculum challenges the mind through cognitive exercises that involve memory, problem-solving, and focus. These fun board and computer games encourage those with memory loss to think efficiently and quickly while providing opportunities to socialize. For more information, visit https://phelps.northwell.edu/senior-health or call 914-366-3677.