Caregiver Tips for Alzheimer's Behaviors

Caregiving Tips for Alzheimer’s Behaviors

One of the most challenging aspects of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is adjusting to the troubling and sometimes abrupt changes in personality and behavior. The following are steps to help family caregivers with common Alzheimer’s care situations.

1. Eating and Drinking

As Alzheimer’s progresses, mealtime routines and food selections may need adapting.

  • Keep an eye on chewing and swallowing and, if necessary, advise when to chew and swallow.
  • Serve small, bite-sized foods that are easy to pick up and chew.
  • Limit the distractions of television and even bright, patterned tablecloths, place mats and dishes.
  • Use silverware with large handles. Try bendable straws and lidded cups.

2. Bathing and Hygiene

Hygiene care and bathing work best when caregivers help the loved one feel relaxed and in control.

  • Set a routine time for bathing. If the person is used to a morning shower, stick with that time of day.
  • Respect dignity and privacy by placing a towel over the bathing person’s shoulders or lap so he or she feels less exposed.
  • Use an adjustable-height shower chair or tub bench. For added safety, use a hand-held showerhead, nonslip bath mat and grab bars.

3. Rummaging and Hiding Things

Often an Alzheimer’s patient is looking for something specific, but cannot communicate that, so he or she rummages through storage places and/or squirrels away random objects.

  • Remove access to harmful items, such as cleaning products, sharp knives, firearms and power tools.
  • Create a specific place – a basket, tote bag or chest of drawers – where the person with Alzheimer’s can freely sort through safe, tactile items including socks, stuffed toys or hats.
  • Lock up valuable items like jewelry, keys, important papers, checkbooks and charge cards.

Right at Home Bryan/College Station provides specialized in-home care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and support and respite breaks for their families.

What caregiver tips do you recommend for managing the challenging conditions of Alzheimer’s?

Dale Christian
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