Alzheimer’s and dementia: Guidelines for everyday care

Everyday care for a person with dementia involves awareness to equally demands and consolation. Understand strategies to give supportive care.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Persons who have Alzheimer’s disorder or other conditions causing dementia at some point require aid with everyday routines, these kinds of as bathing, dressing, eating and making use of the lavatory. This personal and hands-on support involves typical, regular closeness and touching. Occasionally this sort of care is welcomed or tolerated, but a person with dementia can be uncomfortable or distressed by it.

If you care for somebody with dementia, look at the next strategies to aid you give care that is supportive, respectful and helpful.

Bathing

Bathing can be tough because the person in your care may well feel humiliated about staying naked in entrance of you, resentful of needing this care or uncomfortable with bathing. Bathing also involves your consistent awareness to keep away from falls or other injury. Guidelines involve:

  • Make the lavatory protected. Set up security bars, place a rubber mat on the ground of the bathtub or shower, and use a sturdy chair or bathing chair. Set up a hand-held shower head if probable.
  • Prepare supplies. Have soap, shampoo, washcloths and towels in location in advance of time, so that you do not have to leave the person in your care unattended.
  • Make the bathtub relaxed. Make confident the lavatory is warm and very well lit. Play gentle audio if it encourages relaxation.
  • Maintain it private. If the person in your care is self-acutely aware about staying naked, offer a towel for above the shoulders or lap. Use a sponge or washcloth to clean up less than the towel.
  • Be respectful. Make clear what you are undertaking and what you are likely to do subsequent. Let the person in your care aid as a great deal as probable.
  • Alternate whole baths or showers with sponge baths. A whole bathtub or shower two or 3 instances a 7 days is likely ample. In involving, use a washcloth or sponge to clean up the person’s deal with, hands, toes, underarms and genitals. Washing hair with a spray hose in the kitchen sink may well be simpler for some men and women.
  • Dry totally. Use towels to pat dry gently and consider care to dry any folds in the pores and skin to keep away from irritation.

Dressing

Dressing consists of selecting what is proper for the temperature, next personal choices and undertaking steps in a unique buy. These choice-earning and planning jobs can be tough or disheartening for a person with dementia. Guidelines to aid with dressing involve the next:

  • Provide course. Lay out pieces of garments in the buy they really should be place on — or hand out garments 1 piece at a time as you give very simple dressing instructions.
  • Limit options. Much too quite a few options can complicate choice-earning and lead to agitation. Place away some clothing in an additional place.
  • Contemplate personal tastes and dislikes. Let the person in your care make options. If he or she generally would like to wear the similar detail, obtain a lot more than 1 of the outfits if probable.
  • Make it straightforward and relaxed. Choose clothing that fit comfortably and are straightforward to place on and clear away. You could possibly switch shoelaces, buttons and buckles with cloth fastening tape or big zipper pulls.

Eating

Mealtime is crucial for keeping fantastic nourishment and hydration. Persons with dementia may well neglect to eat or consume, and they may well come across the job of eating tough or distressing. Ideas to make mealtimes healthy and relaxed involve the next:

  • Routine. Try to eat at the similar time every working day as a great deal as probable. If mealtimes are as well very long or tough, look at regular, lesser meals during the working day.
  • Hydration. Provide little eyeglasses of water often during the working day to endorse adequate hydration. Provide food with higher water content material, these kinds of as fruit, soups and smoothies.
  • Quiet setting. Prevent distractions, these kinds of as a television or radio. Remove unneeded clutter from the table. Convert off telephones.
  • Dishes and utensils. Pick dishes that are least complicated to use: white dishes instead of patterned dishes, bowls instead of plates, spoons instead of forks, or fingers instead of utensils. Use bendable straws or lidded cups.
  • Foods servings. Cut food into chunk-sized pieces just before serving, or make finger foodstuff. Serve 1 sort of food at a time, as deciding what to eat may well be agitating.
  • Foods options. As a great deal as probable, make favorite and familiar foodstuff, whilst making certain generous servings of vegetables, fruits and total grains.
  • Encouragement and modeling. You can aid with the essential mechanics of eating by demonstrating how to hold a spoon, when to consider a consume or how to chew ample immediately after a chunk. You can gently hold the person’s hand to aid with making use of a utensil.
  • Sharing meals. Try to eat jointly and take care of mealtimes as an chance to pay a visit to.

Toileting

A person with dementia may well knowledge reduction of bladder or bowel control (incontinence) for quite a few factors, these kinds of as professional medical circumstances, medicines, problems receiving to the lavatory, or not recognizing the require to use the bathroom. You can aid with the next procedures:

  • Make the lavatory straightforward to come across. Distinct the route to the lavatory by getting rid of home furnishings and rugs. Maintain the lavatory doorway open so that the bathroom is seen, or publish a photograph of a bathroom on the lavatory doorway. Place a transportable commode in the bedroom for nighttime use.
  • Develop a toileting routine. Consider the person in your care to the bathroom on a typical routine, these kinds of as every two several hours and just before meals, bathing or other things to do.
  • Be notify for signals. Restlessness or tugging on garments could possibly sign the require to use the bathroom. Understand the word or phrase the person uses to show the require to use the bathroom — which may well not be immediately associated to toileting.
  • Make garments straightforward to clear away. Substitute zippers and buttons with cloth fasteners. Pick trousers with elastic waists alternatively than belts.
  • Be supportive. When incidents happen, consider them in stride. Use encouraging words and keep away from criticism.

Getting support

Get hold of a county or spot company for older grown ups or a local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for means to support everyday care, respite expert services to give you a crack, or support groups that allow caregivers to share tips.