People living with Alzheimers disease want to stay independent and at home as long as possible.
And according to Haleigh Tapscott, the office manager for Home Instead Senior Care, it is good for them to do so.
Studies have shown have shown that people with Alzheimers who stay in a comfortable, familiar environment such as their home thrive, Tapscott said.
It is not always so good for the family caregivers according to David Marlowe, the director of programs for the Columbus Alzheimers Association.
About 70 percent of Alzheimers patients are at home with family taking care of them, Marlowe said, and it can be very stressful for the caregivers,
Thats why the association has Caregiver Timeout, a respite reimbursement program.
That way, family members can get a needed break from their duties. They can do what they need to do and rest, he said.
He said that locally there are places such as the St. Luke United Methodist Church Respite Care Ministry, which provides short term care. According to the Alzheimers Association, there are about 20,000 people suffering from the disease in the Chattahoochee Valley and more than five million nationwide. Home Instead Senior Care provides caregivers. Sometimes family members cant be there, Tapscott said. They have to juggle other responsibilities. We can provide help 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
While some seniors only need minor assistance in the beginning, the needs continue to grow.
The number of people needing assistance will grow, too.
The population is aging so the numbers of Alzheimers patients will as well, Tapscott said.
Marlowe said that unfortunately, sometimes, family members want nothing to do with the person who has Alzheimers.
Her company, now in its third year in Columbus, employs 40 trained caregivers.
Different families have different needs, Tapscott said.
You dont have to be a client to receive free help from Home Instead. A Confidence to Care At Home Kit is available and there is a new smartphone app, Alzheimers and Other Dementias Daily Helper, with 500 tips to help families manage issues as they arise.. Anyone interested can call 706-987-8600 or visit HomeInstead.com/columbusga. The app is being done in conjunction with the Alzheimers Association.
Helpful information may also be found at the Alzheimers Association website www.alz.org.
Tapscott said there are a lot of strong emotions for both the person with Alzheimers and the family members.
There is sadness, frustration and anger, she said. Most of all there is fear of the unknown.
People need to be aware of the signs of Alzheimer.
These include memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, trouble understanding visual images, new problems with words in speaking or writing, misplacing things, losing the ability to retrace steps, withdrawal from work or social activities and changes in mood or personality.
Tapscott said the biggest fear of family members is of the loved one wandering off.
Marlowe said that is why a Safe Return program, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimers. It is a partnership between the Alzheiemers Association and MedicAlert. Speaking about people wandering off.
Marlowe said that is why a Safe Return program, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response system for individuals with Alzheimers was created. It is a partnership between the Alzheimers Association and MedicAlert.
Tapscott said a reduction of clutter and making food easily accessible is a must when caring for an Alzheimers patient at home.
She said light- colored rooms are good for Alzheimers patients. You dont want bright, bold colors that stimulate the brain too much, she said.
She said making it easier for someone to dress by laying out articles of clothing in sequence, arranged in the order that they are meant to be put on helps.
According to the Home Instead guide, families must allow the seniors to do as much as they can but dont expect them to do what they cant.
Tapscott said some Alzheimers patients will forget about regular bathing. Creating a spa-like atmosphere at bath time with favorite soaps and lotions can help create a pleasing experience.
The Home Instead guide says caregivers, whether family or professional, need to bring fun and happiness the endeavor. In the guide, Dr. Jane Potter of the University of Nebraska Medical Center says, Laughter is great and use plenty of it to stay engaged with a senior loved one.