Many of the reader of this article might not be suffering from any cognitive disorders themselves, but it is someone who is very close to them such as family, relatives and friends or someone they are planning on taking good care of. Cognitive disorders includes Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses that affect the individual’s ability use his cognitive ability – so the problems such as problem solving, memory problem, thought process and other types of disruption in thinking involving higher brain functions.
Here are the things you can do to provide a good care for people who are suffering from Alzheimers Disease and similar:
Make the environment suitable:
Assign the patient to a room that is closer to you so for better observation. The room should have lower amount of visual and auditory stimuli but definitely have objects and belongings such as clocks, pictures, memorabilia, clocks, calenders and other stuff that can either improve the memory or give cues. If the person is a sundowner and sleep during the day rather than the night, proving a good bed by the window might help.
Medications can be effective, but only use them as prescribed by the physician. They can not only have positive effects on cognitive functioning but can also improve behavior and affect daily activities. These medications are Tacrine (Cognex), Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon), Galantamine (Reminyl), and Memantine (Namenda). Use these drugs carefully as they have potential side effects.
Next big thing is communication. Often times we avoid people with cognitive dysfunctions, but as it turns out that they can function better if interaction does take place. It can atleast help sustain the level of functioning at the present moment. Maintain an eye contact and use short, simple sentences when speaking to the client. Things such as reinforcing and orienting the patient to time, place, and person can make a big difference. It will help to encourage reminiscence about past happy times and familiar things the patient still remembers. An important thing to remember is that if you do engage in activities with an alzheimer patient, break the instructions down into short timeframes so he or she can remember because they don’t have a good memory and processing functionality. Establish routine as patient allows.
Safety is probably the most important thing to take into consideration. The are high risk for elopement and thus have them wear an identification bracelet. In healthcare facilities, they use monitors and bed alarm devices as deemed necessary. Ensure safety in the physical environment, such as lowered bed and removal of scatter rugs to prevent falls. Many aspects of the physical environment may need to be changed for the home-bound client with dementia. Provide eyeglasses and hearing assistive devices as needed.