Navigating Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide to Managing Unpredictable Symptoms

A family caregiver navigating Alzheimer’s care sits on the couch with her elderly mother.
Navigating Alzheimer’s care can feel overwhelming for family caregivers, but having expert guidance, like the following strategies, can help.

If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you already understand how imperative it is to be flexible and patient, and to anticipate the unexpected. On any given day, the person might encounter a broad spectrum of emotions: calm, angry, agitated, fearful, giddy, melancholy. As you adapt your care strategy to accommodate the person’s disposition, you also need to juggle management of a host of challenging symptoms: wandering, repetitive behaviors and conversations, memory loss, and sundowning.

As difficult as Alzheimer’s disease is in and of itself, there are further factors that can worsen symptoms. In your role as a caregiver navigating Alzheimer’s with your loved one, you need to be cognizant of the following possible complications and reach out to the person’s physician for recommendations where applicable:

  • Anticholinergic medications. These medicines are used to treat asthma, allergies, muscle spasms, and overactive bladder, as well as problems with sleeping. The substance they block, however, plays a crucial role in learning and memory.
  • Too much sugar. A sugar craving is very common in those with dementia, but can result in increased irritability and agitation. This is even worse when short-term memory loss causes the person to overindulge, forgetting they have already had a cookie or two.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol has a much more extreme impact on older adults in general, with one alcoholic beverage the equivalent of three for a younger person. It results in confusion, falls, disinhibition, and depression, all of which can be extremely dangerous for someone with dementia.
  • Hearing impairment. Untreated age-related hearing loss is associated with a rapid decline in memory. Even something as simple and easily treated as wax buildup in the ears can intensify the effects of Alzheimer’s.
  • Isolation. The comfort and familiarity of home are often ideal for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s important to make sure the person has plenty of opportunities for socialization as well.

A fully trained and experienced dementia caregiver from Heaven at Home Senior Care can help in a wide range of ways to minimize the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, including:

  • Preparing nutritious meals and snacks
  • Running errands
  • Taking care of light housekeeping and laundry
  • Providing transportation to medical appointments or fun outings
  • Assisting with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Implementing skilled, proven approaches to decrease the negative effects of the disease
  • Offering friendly companionship for engaging conversations and activities
  • And so much more

Navigating Alzheimer’s disease is easier with the right support. We would love to provide customized home care services to someone you love who is contending with the challenges of Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Discover more about how we can help by calling us at 940-380-0500 in Denton or 972-245-1515 in Dallas or contacting us online to schedule your free in-home consultation.