October 11, 2019

When a caregiver comes out with an older woman for a walk, she always takes a plastic bottle with water.

Certain triggers can worsen the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

While there are certain commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease impacts each individual uniquely. Specially trained dementia caregivers from Continuum, the experts in home health care in St. Louis, MO, know, for instance, that while one person may enjoy being outdoors, another may be overwhelmed by so much sensory input and prefer a calmer indoor environment. One may love a morning bath routine, while a dose of creativity is necessary to help another maintain good hygiene.

We also know that there are certain triggers that can often exacerbate the signs of Alzheimer’s. Family caregivers should be particularly careful to avoid:

  1. Dehydration. Aging adults with dementia may not be able to identify when they’re thirsty, or may resist when offered fluids. It’s crucial to ensure adequate hydration to prevent additional confusion and weakness. Plain water is best, but if refused, try flavored waters, as well as different types of cups or glasses.
  2. Isolation. Those with dementia experience loneliness as much as anyone else, and without sufficient social stimulation, can become increasingly agitated or paranoid. A professional caregiver, like those at Continuum, who are fully trained in dementia care, can provide appropriate socialization, giving family members a much-needed break from care.
  3. Sugar. It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s disease to have an increased craving for cookies, cake, and other sugary snacks, but it can also lead to increased irritability. Try offering a variety of healthier options, such as fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free treats.
  4. Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep problems such as sundowning, it can be tempting for family members to offer sleeping pills to a loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. Yet they increase the risk for falls and other injuries and add to confusion and fogginess. Check with the senior’s doctor for a natural sleep-inducing alternative.
  5. TV. Be mindful of what’s on TV; shows containing crime, violence, and even the nightly news can instill fear and paranoia in those with dementia. It may be best to leave the TV off and engage your loved one in alternate activities, such as games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to view movies you’ve carefully reviewed to ensure content is appropriate.

Each member of Continuum’s award-winning dementia care team is fully trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to effectively manage the difficulties inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to maximize quality of life. With our expert services in home health care in St. Louis, MO and surrounding area, we can make life brighter for your loved one. Contact us or call (314) 863-9912 for additional Alzheimer’s care tips, or for an in-home consultation.