There are many normal ways in which our bodies and minds begin to break down as we age. Unfortunately, there are also diseases that can begin to degenerate a person’s health prematurely. Alzheimer’s disease develops in the brain, causing significant mental and physical challenges that are not normal parts of aging. Providing the right care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s takes understanding and respect.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, a broad term referring to one or more symptoms of mental decline that leads to a disruption of daily routines. This chronic neurodegenerative disorder progressively deteriorates parts of the brain that control cognition, memory, behavior, and personality. Those with Alzheimer’s will generally experience declining mental and behavioral capacity as it progresses. Although symptoms typically develop slowly, they will worsen with age.

The most common symptoms experienced are:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Challenges with problem-solving
  • Changes in behavior or mood
  • Difficulty communicating

Symptoms can range in severity depending on the person and the progression of the disease. Early signs of Alzheimer’s include forgetfulness, memory lapses, and difficulty finding words. Eventually, memory loss becomes severe, and individuals can forget how to do everyday tasks, who their loved ones are, and even their own identity. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, there are things that you can do to minimize its impact and reduce the symptoms.

Caring for Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s

When caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, it is vital to approach any and all care you will be providing with patience and understanding. There are several areas in which caregivers and family members must give special consideration to those with Alzheimer’s, including everyday care, communication, and support for a healthy and active lifestyle.

  • Keep a Daily Routine
    Establishing and maintaining consistent routines is important when providing care. Keep a regular schedule of when bathing, dressing, and meals will occur, and help the person with making to-do lists and keeping appointments in a calendar or notebook. Consistency in where meals and activities take place is also important. Build quiet times into the daily routine, as well as time for activities such as walks and exercise.The goal is to help your loved one continue to live a full life while keeping things as regular and familiar as possible.
  • Encourage IndependenceEncourage independence where possible, allowing the person to do any activity that they are physically and mentally able to pursue. It is helpful to provide clothing that is simple and does not require many steps to put on. Ensure that you provide enough time for them to complete tasks, such as eating, without feeling rushed. If they do become frustrated, be patient and understanding. Help them get started with activities, as those with dementia can often have trouble initiating them.All these can help your loved one maintain as much control in their life as possible.
  • Provide Gentle and Patient Communication
    Make sure to clearly communicate and explain every step when assisting with personal care, especially if bathing/grooming. Fill the living space with personal objects, family portraits, and photos to provide comfort and security. It is ok to remind a person of your relationship with them, but try to avoid asking if they remember you or recall particular memories. Encourage two-way communication as much as possible. Listen to their concerns, reassure them, and always speak calmly.The goal is to continue to treat your loved one with dignity and respect as a person, while patiently bearing with them through the challenges that Alzheimer’s can cause.

When Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Needs Full-Time Care

As Alzheimer’s is a disease that will slowly erode an individual’s ability to care for themselves, most will require the assistance of caregivers, even at the early stages. While it is strongly encouraged to help the person maintain independence as long as possible, it is ideally done in an environment with the proper care required to take care of the unique needs that Alzheimer’s presents. It is wise to consider assisted living that offers full-time care specifically dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.


Q: What Is the Ideal Care for Someone With Alzheimer’s?

A: Finding an attentive and supportive staff is crucial to offering the ideal care to your loved ones. For those living with Alzheimer’s, simple personal care services and opportunities to engage in everyday activities that are stimulating and fun have shown the most productive results in residents with memory loss. Look for care that provides grooming, such as pedicures and haircuts, along with entertainment, such as live music and community games, as these will help residents feel confident, active, and involved.

Q: When Should an Alzheimer’s Patient Go to a Nursing Home?

A: Nursing homes differ from regular assisted living facilities by offering more extensive onsite medical services by staff that are available throughout the day and night. The decision to move an Alzheimer’s patient to a nursing home so they may receive more intensive care is a common but difficult choice for families to make. Alternatively, memory care facilities are specially designed to provide assisted living environments with staff that have unique experience and training to assist those living with Alzheimer’s.

Q: What Is the Right Care Environment for Someone Who Has Dementia?

A: For patients living with dementia, feelings of stress, anxiety, and agitation are both common and detrimental to their health. For this reason, it is important for their environments to offer:

  • Plenty of natural light and open space
  • Quiet rooms for self-regulated stress-relief
  • A living space that feels comfortable and homey that is furnished with personal and family photos and sentimental knick-knacks and mementos

These will be far more effective at reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.

Q: What Should I Not Do When Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s?

A: Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is about utilizing positive and encouraging communication and offering the kind of support that promotes dignity and independence. For this reason, it is imperative that you never bring up topics or respond in ways that could have negative tones. For example, never:

  • Argue with them.
  • Correct them.
  • Remind them of deceased loved ones.
  • Bring up upsetting topics.
  • Ask if they remember something.

Offer choices and allow them to be independent where possible.

Rocky Mountain Assisted Living Can Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia deserve patient and understanding care that allows them to continue living full lives while meeting their needs. The right care can help reduce the impact this disease can otherwise have on everyday living. If you believe that your loved one is ready to make the transition in care, contact us today.