Posted on: April 16, 2020
Alzheimer’s caregiving is a fluid, continually-evolving journey. One day may be calm and peaceful, with your parent enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the following day might be filled with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. What will today bring?
Figuring out how to best handle the difficult behaviors, as well as ensure life is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia could be made easier through a simple tool: journaling. Here is how you can implement it in your daily caregiving routine, as well as how to make use of your journal to enhance quality of life for your loved one:
- Track symptoms and caregiving needs every single day. Your notes don’t need to be lengthy, but record any issues that occur, such as time of day and what may have ignited the difficulties. Additionally, include tasks the senior managed to accomplish independently, together with those that were difficult. At the conclusion of each week, review the behaviors to see if a pattern can be noticed – such as increased agitation before meals or bedtime.
- Track eating habits. Note which foods are most popular with the senior, which are easiest for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks are being eaten as well as what times throughout the day, etc. Remember to record beverages, to guarantee the older adult is taking in sufficient levels of water to remain hydrated. In going over your notes, you may find that six smaller sized meals throughout the span of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for example.
- Track safety issues. Maintaining safety is a primary consideration in dementia care, with a wide range of dangers that may result from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for; for example, thinking a household cleaner could actually be a sports drink. Securing hazardous items or placing them in out-of-reach places is important, and maintaining a list of changes made to the home environment for safety’s sake can be extremely helpful to alert other friends and family to potential risks.
It’s also a good idea to take your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns recorded to his or her attention. This allows you to be fully prepared prior to appointments with questions you need to get answered, capitalizing on the limited time available to talk to doctors.
Connect with our highly trained and knowledgeable elder care management team at Alivity Care Advocates for more tips, as well as senior living resources. Give us a call today at (248) 375-9125 and let us help make each day the very best it can be for your loved one with dementia.