As Alzheimer's progresses, your role as a caregiver changes.
Alzheimer's help or memory care will be different at different stages of the disease. The progressive nature of Dementia means symptoms will ultimately worsen over time. How quickly this occurs varies from person to person.
Thistlecreek Health Care offers flexible care that grows and evolves throughout the stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses.
Seniors with Dementia may struggle to perform essential self-care tasks due to loss of cognitive function and motor skills. This can put a strain on families and many rely on Thistlecreek Health Care to help them provide comprehensive care for their loved one. We firmly believe in promoting independence, while providing the care and assistance required by clients with Dementia.
The daily activities listed below are affected by the disease and will cause your loved one to become increasing dependent on care.
Cooking meals is often one of the first tasks taken over by a Caregiver, as cooking can be dangerous for someone with reduced co-ordination and memory loss. Feeding themselves independently will be a skill that diminishes as the disease progresses.
Personal Care & Hygiene:
Personal care such as bathing, showering, oral care, nail care and other essential grooming tasks can be difficult with reduced co-ordination and mobility. A PSW is required for this type of care.
Transferring & Mobility:
Moving from one place to another, standing up from a chair, walking independently, getting into bed, or getting into the bathtub independently becomes increasingly difficult with reduced co-ordination and mobility. This can be very difficult for a family member to handle alone, as it requires training and strength.
Both the cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions about clothing and the co-ordination and mobility required to physically dress or undress oneself diminishes with Dementia.
The physical and mental capacity to use the bathroom can be lost in Dementia, while limited mobility and the inability to get on and off the toilet can exacerbate the issue.
Memory Care evolves with the progression of the disease. As Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses progress, the individuals Care Plan will be adjusted and the level of care required also intensifies. As your loved one looses cognitive and motor skills, the role of the caregivers is to provide increasing levels of care and attention.
At the early stage of Alzheimer’s, one can generally still lead a very independent life and may not need much assistance. They are primarily independent with dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, walking and may still attend social events, drive, volunteer or work. While one may forget words or need some reminders, one tends to need assistance with things like medication management, and developing a care plan for the future.
As the disease progresses to the middle stage, families often enlist the services of Thistlecreek Health Care. This is when your loved one may begin to forget faces or lose one’s sense of direction in a familiar area. Depression, aggression and erratic moods may become a factor. This is also the stage when co-ordination and mobility suffer, requiring greater attention from Caregivers. You may see Sundown Syndrome or similar issues arise, it can occur at any stage of the disease but it tends to peak in the middle stages of dementia and lessens as the disease progresses. A consistent relationship with a Caregiver at home can help provide companionship, comfort and familiarity, as well as keep your loved one safe.
Late stage Alzheimer’s requires intensive care and the most assistance with activities of daily living. Continuing home health care is possible, although our personal support workers can also go to a medical facility or long-term care facility to assist with care.
Respite care services offered by Thistlecreek Health Care are important to keep in mind at this point.
Taking a little time for yourself can be a boon to your ability to give care, manage your stress and avoid caregiver fatigue.
In the end of life phase, you may need full time Palliative Care. Those in the final months of Dementia will experience increased mental and physical deterioration and eventually require care 24 hours per day.
Palliative Care is recommended when the person nears death, comfort measures become the focus. As in the care of any person living with a terminal illness, physical as well as emotional and spiritual needs must be carefully considered and attended to, focusing on quality of life and comfort.
At Thistlecreek our ultimate goal is to enable seniors with memory impairment to stay as active and engaged as they possibly can, while living in a dignified, comfortable and supervised environment.