Strategies for Elderly with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect a person’s memory and cognitive abilities. Oftentimes, residents with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty with short-term memory loss. As such, implementing repetition in many aspects of the Alzheimer’s resident’s life can greatly help the resident cope with his or her condition.

Day-to-Day Routines Can Help

Providing a sense of structure and repetitive consistency from day-to-day can help residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and can also help streamline the caregiving process. A consistent schedule for waking, bathing, dressing, eating, socializing, exercising and sleeping can help manage the more challenging part of Alzheimer’s disease. Many Alzheimer’s patients suffer from a period of heightened activity or exhibit behavior problems at sunset; this occurrence is sometimes referred to as sundowning. Keeping a schedule, getting a good night’s sleep, and getting adequate exercise during the day can help curb this problematic behavior at dusk. Engaging the Alzheimer’s resident in safe daily activities can help the resident maintain a sense of purpose and can also promote being active. Engaging the resident in helping to provide his or her own care is sometimes also possible if his or her mental state permits. Encouraging the resident to clean up after him or herself, to brush his or her own teeth or hair, or to assist with his or her dressing reduces the burden on nursing staff, and keeps the resident engaged.

Communicate With the Resident Constantly and in a Variety of Ways

How one communicates is one of the biggest, most noticeable changes that occur when a person develops Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. He or she may begin to lose his or her ability to communicate, words may become difficult to recall, and he or she may begin to rely more heavily on hand gestures to communicate. At the same time, he or she may begin to lose his or her ability to understand words that are spoken to him or her. Yet, communication is key. Visual and audio cues, other than words, can be used in conjunction with verbal communication to help reinforce what is being communicated to the Alzheimer’s resident. For instance, opening up curtains in the morning can signify and reinforce that morning activities are to commence, including waking, dressing, and eating breakfast. Similarly, closing the curtains can signify and reinforce that it is time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Alternatively, playing soft, relaxing music could signify time for sleep as well.

Repetition is Helpful

Repetition is very helpful for Alzheimer’s residents. They forget things quickly, so reiterating things in multiple ways many times is important. Residents with Alzheimer’s are doing the best that they can, but sometimes their brain doesn’t retain what it should and repetition usually gets the message across to the resident eventually. Whether it is family, loved ones or nursing home staff, it is important to be patient with residents who have Alzheimer’s disease.

If your loved one is a nursing home resident with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and you believe he or she is not getting the necessary care he or she needs from his or her nursing home, please contact The Rooth Law Firm today online or at (847) 869-9100.

Photo Credit: Neil. Moralee via Compfight cc

Sources:, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care: Planning and Preparing for the Road Ahead