If you are in charge of caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease, there could very well come a time when it is no longer feasible for you to handle the entirety of their care all on your own. If your loved one has few physical limitations, placing them in a nursing home can seem a bit over the top, but one solution to relieve some of your burden is supportive in-home care. Even without transitioning to a nursing home, bringing in an outside party for in-home care can also be a challenge for patients with Alzheimer's disease. However, there are a few tips that can help soften the rough edges of the change.
1. Introduce the care agent several times before leaving your loved one alone with the new person. - You may be fully comfortable with leaving your loved one in the care of the new in-home care agent after the first visit, but for someone suffering with Alzheimer's, it can take a lot longer for someone new to feel familiar at all. For the first several visits to the house, make sure you stick around to give your loved one time to grow accustomed to the new person in their home who is helping them out.
2. Create a detailed schedule for the care agent to follow. - Disruptions and changes in the schedule for a person who has Alzheimer's disease can mean more confusion than usual. To ward off the potential for a change to bring about confusion and memory loss, supply the care agent with a documented guide of the usual daily schedule that the patient is accustomed to following. You should include things like:
- the time they normally wake and have breakfast
- favorite television shows they normally watch and what time they come on
- when they are normally given their medications
- if they prefer to have a snack between lunch and dinner and what time
3. Keep lines of communication open with your loved one. - If you have been the primary caregiver for an Alzheimer's patient for a long time, just you not being around could be enough to trigger a negative reaction. So even after the patient is comfortable with the agent, make sure to continuously communicate with your loved one while you are not in their presence. Give them a call and talk to the family member on the phone or stop by on a lunch break throughout the day.