Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease can be a little unnerving. There are several stages of Alzheimer’s that require different levels of precautions and care, and everyday activities can become greater tasks to overcome.

However, we’ve collected some information on what to expect from the patient and what you can do to make caring for them easier and more enjoyable.

First, there are three main stages of Alzheimer’s. These can progress at different speeds and each brings new challenges for patients and caregivers.

  • Stage one: Mild

    The first stage is often referred to as mild Alzheimer’s disease. During this phase, patients experience basic memory loss and lack of organization. They may forget familiar people and find it difficult making lists or doing basic math.

  • Stage two: Moderate

    The second stage brings more intense symptoms like not being able to control bodily functions or the inability to get dressed on their own. General judgment begins to slow down and they may wander around or act out by yelling or making threats.

  • Stage three: Severe 

    The final severe stage will ultimately lead to death and is typically difficult to handle. The patient will usually need help with every task during the day, even sitting up and walking. This stage can also include the patient refusing to eat or being unable to talk.

Home safety becomes a greater concern when housing a family member with Alzheimer’s. Here is some simple advice for keeping the patient safer in your home.

  • Prevent falls: 

    If there is a way to keep the patient away from stairs or limit obstructions in common walking places, take the necessary measures. Even the simple tasks such as walking become more difficult for those with Alzheimer’s.

  • Use locks: 

    Since Alzheimer’s disease causes a lack of judgment, patients can sometimes wander and try to enter areas that may be unsafe or private. You can use locks to manage this for almost every room in a home.

  • Check their water temperature: 

    Alzheimer’s disease can become so intense the patient doesn’t realize how hot or cold water is while bathing or washing their hands. Monitoring this could save a patient’s life or at least keep them comfortable and happy.

Everyday activities are a greater challenge when you have Alzheimer’s disease. Helping a patient accomplish these activities takes patience and understanding. Here are three pieces of advice for making the experience easier for both parties.

  • Stick to a schedule. It helps the patient if you are as consistent as possible with accomplishing everyday tasks. It’s important to schedule enough time to finish them so that you’re not rushing and causing more stress.
  • Involving them is key. You cannot do everything for the patient without allowing them to help themselves. Provide the patient simple instructions throughout the day. This helps them live a more fulfilling life regardless of their disease.
  • Reduce distractions. Since the patient already lacks some judgment and memory recollection, reducing distractions throughout the day can help them stay on task and accomplish their goals easier.

Caregiving for a family member with Alzheimer’s is difficult but not impossible. However, it is okay to require help in doing so. McCortney Family Hospice has had extensive experience with all stages of Alzheimer’s and would gladly help you and your family in a time of need. Please visit mccortneyhospice.com for more information or call us today at (405) 360-2400.