Navigating Alzheimer’s Disease: Expert Tips and Brain Awareness Strategies
The human brain is a powerful organ. It controls how we remember, learn, play and concentrate. Practicing brain exercises every day keeps your mind sharp and can help prevent or delay cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s never too early to start doing whatever it takes to keep you and your loved one’s brains young, healthy and active.
Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s: Tips and Strategies for Home Care
Caring for someone with cognitive decline requires patience, understanding and a comprehensive approach. By educating yourself about brain health, establishing routines, maintaining social connections, enhancing safety measures and employing effective communication strategies, you can create a better environment for your loved one.
Establish a routine.
People with Alzheimer’s disease thrive in predictable and structured environments. Establishing a daily routine can help reduce confusion and anxiety. Set regular times for meals, medication, activities and rest. Consistency provides a sense of security and familiarity, which can greatly benefit individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Maintain social connections
Encourage social interaction and engagement with loved ones and friends as isolation can worsen symptoms and lead to depression. Organize regular visits or social activities that your loved one enjoys. Engaging in conversations and stimulating activities can help preserve cognitive function and emotional well-being.
Enhance safety measures
As Alzheimer’s progresses, safety becomes a crucial concern. Modify the living environment to minimize potential hazards. Install grab bars, remove tripping hazards and ensure proper lighting. Consider using locks or alarms on doors to prevent wandering. These measures help maintain a secure and comfortable environment for those with Alzheimer’s.
Communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s disease requires patience, empathy and understanding. Use clear and simple language, speak slowly and maintain eye contact. Break tasks or instructions into smaller, manageable steps. Non-verbal cues, such as gestures and facial expressions, can also assist in conveying messages effectively.
Promoting Brain Health: Lifestyle Choices and Activities for Brain Awareness
Spend at least 30 minutes doing some type of activity that gets your loved one’s heart pumping. Focus on a combination of cardio exercises, strength training, flexibility and balance. Make sure they are doing activities they enjoy so they stick with this healthy habit.
Nourish the body.
Make sure they drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced, healthy diet by consuming a variety of foods of different colors, including green, leafy vegetables. Foods rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids are important as well. Minimize alcohol and caffeine (all in moderation). What’s good for the body is good for the brain!
Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep is so important because while we sleep, the brain repairs itself and completes a lot of important tasks, including preserving key memories and restoring information that was learned during the day. Aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
There is growing evidence that stress damages the brain. Stress also can lead to depression, which can affect your loved one’s memory and slow brain metabolism. Reduce stress levels by practicing calming activities like meditation or yoga, exercising regularly and taking time to just relax.
Stay socially connected.
Spend time with friends and family. Regular engagement and social activities with the people you care about can help maintain a healthy brain.
Use the brain.
Do activities every day to stimulate their brain. Read a book, do crossword or jigsaw puzzles, play memory games or a round of scrabble. Consider a program like Ageless Grace. These types of brain fitness programs are meant to exercise the body and stimulate the brain. The Ageless Grace exercises, based on neuroplasticity, activate all five functions of the brain —analytical, strategic, kinesthetic learning, memory/recall, creativity and imagination. It consists of 21 simple exercises focused on natural, everyday movements and it is designed for all ages and abilities.
Recognizing Early Signs of Alzheimer’s: When to Seek Professional Help
Early diagnosis is extremely crucial with Alzheimer’s. The sooner you know your loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease, the more time you have to take advantage of all the treatment opportunities available. It also gives you and your family time to know and understand the disease and enables you to plan for the future. The Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful resource to use when researching information about Alzheimer’s, including the brain science behind it, doctors’ visits, as well as early signs and symptoms.
Many times, family members aren’t aware of the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s, so they can easily be overlooked and/or dismissed. That’s why as an in-home care company that sees patients and their families dealing with this debilitating disease every day, FirstLight Home Care would like to share with you a few early signs to be on the lookout for with your parents and loved ones.
Everyone falls now and again—but frequent falling could be an early signal of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. The researchers, who presented the study at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris, looked at brain scans of 125 older adults and asked them to keep track of how often they slipped and stumbled during an eight-month span. The results? Those participants who showed early signs of Alzheimer’s happened to fall down more often.
“Reduced gaze” is the clinical term for the dementia symptom that alters people’s ability to move their eyes normally. People showing early signs of dementia look like they’re staring a lot. They try to read, and they skip lines. This is one of the signs of dementia that the patient might not completely be aware of, although people around them probably will be.
Now and again, most people find themselves desperately searching for the right word. In fact, failing to find the word you are thinking of is surprisingly common and not necessarily a sign of dementia. But losing knowledge of objects—not just what they are called, but also what they are used for—is an early dementia symptom. Oddly enough, people who are losing this knowledge can be very competent in other areas of their lives.
Planning and solving problems may become difficult for a person who potentially has Alzheimer’s. Simpler tasks such as following a recipe or developing a plan may become more difficult.
Changes in mood
Many times, all the symptoms above will cause those at risk of Alzheimer’s to withdraw from social situations. In addition, mood changes will become apparent.
Building a Support Network: Connecting with Alzheimer’s Caregivers and Resources
According to John Hopkins, more than 90% of adults 65 years and older with Alzheimer’s are taken care of by a family member or unpaid caregiver. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be emotionally and physically draining. It is essential to seek support from professionals, support groups and respite services. Joining a caregiver support group can provide a platform to share experiences, learn coping strategies and find solace among others facing similar challenges.
FirstLight Home Care Dementia & Alzheimer’s – Senior Home Care Services
FirstLight Home Care Dementia & Alzheimer’s caregivers’ goal is to improve the overall health and well-being for you and your aging loved one. We are focused on providing services to help people achieve the quality of life they deserve. Whether your family needs companion, personal care, respite care services or specialized care from our certified FirstLight memory care practitioners, we are here for you. Learn more about our personalized dementia care services.