How to Effectively and Affectionally Care for an Alzheimer’s Sufferer

Updated on July 23, 2021

Caring for a person who is suffering from the debilitating and devastating memory illness of Alzheimer’s disease requires a great deal of strength, patience, and time, and you would be forgiven for wondering whether you have the emotional strength to successfully maintain a professional approach to the individual’s medical care.

Even though Alzheimer’s disease generally follows a similar pattern of progression regardless of the age or health status and background of the person, it is important to point out that everyone suffering from the disease needs to be respected, and most importantly, always treated as an individual.

Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Unfortunately, and to the direct detriment of the individual, cognitive impairment conditions are hugely underdiagnosed, resulting in the individual failing to receive proper and correct medical treatment. 

Essentially, as Alzheimer’s is a progressive and, frankly, unstoppable disease, as the patient’s condition declines, the role of the medical professional becomes threefold. Such a role is based around early detection of developments, wholly personalized care and treatment plans, and efforts to ease the burden on the patient’s loved ones. 

The progression of Alzheimer’s disease can be succinctly categorized using seven major clinical stages from the universally applied ‘Global Deterioration Scale’, and close monitoring of the stages can significantly help with the diagnosis. As a standard guide, mild, early stages of Alzheimer’s disease take between two and four years, moderate or middle stages between two and ten years, and severe, late stages between one and three years. 

How Innovative Electronic Medical Record Technology Can Help

The innovative development in memory care treatment currently centers around the involvement and improvement of EMR technology and the application of such technology specifically to patients suffering from memory disorders. As EMR technology advances, it is transforming from an optional, additional treatment tool to an essential part of treatment. 

There are a plethora of recent developments within EMR technology that can and will directly and positively impact a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease’s treatment and medical care. One of the main benefits is the ability to regularly and instantly update and edit an individual patient’s medical record to ensure there are no gaps or delays when changing their treatment schedule. 

EMR technology linked to smartphones allows doctors, patients, and other medical caregivers to communicate effectively and efficiently. Prescription alerts can be sent to the patient’s phone or tablet, and, significantly usefully, a patient is able to send photographs of new and developing symptoms directly to their medical doctor for a fast consultation and diagnosis. 

An incredibly important and equally impressive development within electronic medical record technology is the ability for the patient’s loved ones and family members to utilize family engagement technology to communicate as frequently as desired with the patient. 

Particularly when the country and, indeed, the world is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, family members’ fears about their loved one’s health and safety, especially when suffering from memory illnesses, are higher than ever before. Family engagement applications, suitable for mobile devices and tablets, allow the medical staff caring for the loved one to send photographs, personalized messages, and even short video messages from the patient in real-time. 

Annual Wellness Visit Software

Annual wellness visit software is essentially the advanced and highly developed version of original electronic medical record technology. Again, compatible with mobile devices, AWV software can be utilized by medical professionals to essentially ensure their patients have the best access to their provided services possible. The system delivers accurate eligibility checks and efficient annual wellness visit questionnaires as well as real-time eligibility verification and customizable health risk assessment questions.  

Alterations to the Patient’s Home

If the patient is currently able to live at home, with or without regular independent nursing professionals and other care staff helping them, there are certain alterations to their home which you should endeavor to make. Even if the patient is in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, you should keep in mind the suggested alterations, as it is likely they will be required further down the line. 

Essentially, you should make their home as safe an environment as humanly possible and strive to make the entire house and garden as Alzheimer-friendly as possible. However, making significant and dramatic changes to their home may cause unnecessary stress and trauma, so it is important to introduce any changes and adaptations as subtly as possible.  

Changes to the home could include improving the lighting throughout the home, heightening the quality of insulation to ensure excess noise is as reduced as possible, and the removal of rugs and mats from the floors. Other changes you should consider include contrasting colors for the walls and furniture, removing or at least minimizing any reflections, and the addition of labels and signs on doors and regularly used household items. 

Assisted Living Communities

As an individual’s Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it may quickly or eventually become impossible for them to remain in their own home, even with daily visits by qualified medical professionals. When this becomes the case for your loved one, opting to move them into an assisted living community, such as assisted living Haddonfield NJ, will ensure their safety and security and encourage them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. 

There is a plethora of advantages to choosing assisted living communities for your loved one to live through their illness over other permanent housing options. Assisted living communities enable their residents to still engage in their normal, daily routine as much as possible and provide support wherever needed with everything from bathing and dressing to meal preparation and letter writing. 

Residents are actively encouraged to engage in recreational indoor and outdoor activities which are always optional and occur daily, with a wide variety of planned activities. Whether your loved one partakes or declines, the opportunities to socialize in a safe and secure environment are plentiful, and residents always benefit from the healthy promotion of new relationships and daily social interaction. 

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.