January brings cold temperatures, snow, a new year and is also Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal condition affecting the brain: how people feel, think, and behave. Performing simple activities of daily living such as dressing, and feeding can become difficult for the person and their caregivers. Our local Alzheimer’s Society is a great resource to help families and caregivers to cope with this disease providing support, counselling and advice. Several products and devices can be of aid to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s progresses, mealtime may become harder for the individual. While eating is second nature to the vast majority of us, it is a complex activity involving multiple steps that can seem an insurmountable task as the disease progresses. Some tips for success include:
- consuming finger foods (as utensils may seem foreign).
- eliminate distractions such as noise.
- hand over hand is a technique that can coach the person to regain use of cutlery.
- Plate guards or Partitioned Scoop Dishes make it easier to pick up the food and keep the food on the plate; and
- a Mealtime Protector protects the person’s clothing.
Those with Alzheimer’s can also experience balance problems and often slip or fall on certain floor surfaces. Regular exercise may help to strengthen muscles to improve balance and stamina. Eliminating dangers such as area rugs and other tripping hazards reduces the risks of falls and injury. Adequate lighting can further lessen the risk. Proper footwear such as well-fitted shoes and socks that have grips on them such as the Secure Socks help minimize falls.
Simple things such as tying your shoes become difficult for those with the disease and are often tasked to the loved ones. Elastic Shoelaces make shoes easier to slip on. This can restore independence to the patient which is critical to their overall quality of life. It is important to make sure that the shoes are fitted snugly to reduce the risk of falls and damage to toes and heels.
Staying fit is often very difficult for those with Alzheimer’s, and if they are no longer walking or getting out, their muscles become depleted and walking becomes even harder. Weights can be expensive, difficult to store and can lead to injury if not used properly. Resistance bands such as Thera-Bands allow the person to perform exercises and stretches to strengthen weak muscles and lengthen tight muscles.
There are many more products that can Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. For more information, please us a call at 519 963 1142 in London. Or visit www.yurekhomehealth.ca.