Self-Care in Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a common health problem among people of above 65 years of age. If any family member suffer from this condition, entire family suffers. Taking care of a patient of Alzheimer’s disease is a gigantic task for all family members. Self-care can be of great help in such situations.

It is important to know for all family members and care givers about the complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Complications occur due to memory loss as well as language loss (patient may not be able to remember many commonly used words leading to communication problem), can lead to impaired judgment. Due to memory loss and language loss a patient with Alzheimer’s disease may not be able to communicate about various medical problem he/she may be having, such as-ID-100299882

  • Unable to explain pain, such as toothache, joint pain or any other pain
  • Cannot follow prescription and treatment plan
  • If any side effect develop due to medication the patient may not be able to explain it.
  • Cannot report symptoms of any medical condition

In the later stage of Alzheimer’s disease, due to changes in brain a patient may be prone to various problems such as,

  • Aspiration of food into lungs
  • Fractures
  • Bedsores
  • Increase incidence of fall
  • Prone to various infections such as pneumonia

Lifestyle changes in Alzheimer’s disease:

Various studies about lifestyle modification and its effect on Alzheimer’s disease shows mixed results. However, it is certain that healthy lifestyle is important in preventing various complications mentioned above, associated with Alzheimer’s disease, even if there is no benefit about cognitive function. Good general health is always better in handling any medical condition and should always be included in treatment/management plan.

  • Regular physical exercise, especially exercises designed for cardiovascular health should be done in Alzheimer’s disease. This can help delay cognitive decline.
  • Diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat, as provided in cardiovascular problems can also be helpful in delaying/preventing cognitive decline, along with improving cardiovascular health.

Caring for caregiver in Alzheimer’s disease:

The job of a caregiver for Alzheimer’s disease is physically and emotionally demanding. It is very important that caregiver should not neglect his/her health for looking after the patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Unless properly planned health condition of caregiver can become problematic. Caregiver need to take care of himself/herself as much as he/she takes care of the patient. Otherwise both (person with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver) with suffer. Caregiver may experience anger, guilt, stress, grief, social isolation etc. and need to be taken care of such problems.

 

Image courtesy of [Keerati] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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