Care at Home
for Those With Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia

 

Caring for an older family member who has Alzheimer's Disease or dementia is a difficult challenge at best. It is especially difficult when trying to give care in the home setting.

 

 

The 6 Stages of Caring for Someone With Alzheimer's

Is is important to understand what life will likely be like as you try to care for your family member with Alzheimer's at home. The National Alzheimer's Association and the National Chronic Care Consortium worked together to define six stages of caring. The hope was that by identifying what a typical caregiver might encounter and how they might feel, professionals would be better prepared to assist and to understand. As a caregiver, understanding these stages may help you plan and make wise decisions.

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Activities of Daily Living

Over time, those with Alzheimer's become unable to conduct everyday tasks that we take for granted such as bathing, eating, getting dressed, paying bills, etc. As the caregiver, there may be tips and "tricks of the trade" that will keep you safe and help you to help your family member.

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Safety

There are many underlying hazards for individuals with Alzheimer's that most people wouldn't recognize right away. Safety is a concern for any caregiver but those caring for family members with Alzheimer's or dementia have an added responsibility to ensure that the home environment is not only safe, but secure. Safety issues also include wandering and driving. You will need Acrobat Reader to view these fact sheets.

Safe Return Program


For more information:

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Activities to Stimulate the Mind

Need an online activity for your family member with Alzheimer's? Need a way to spark discussions and remembering? Try "The Living Center".

You will go to a virtual living room where you can choose different online activities. It was created specifically to help family and friends spend enjoyable time with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. Designed in conjunction with leading Alzheimer’s experts and computer scientists, The Living Center is meant to engage people in all different stages of Alzheimer’s.

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Finances

If you are able to still communicate with your family member about financial and legal matters, do so immediately. Get their input about wills, powers of attorney, etc. Go to the Social Security website and see if they will qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Income. Look into other means of financing care at the same time. As your family member becomes less able to care for him or herself, it will be more difficult for you to make arrangements due to the increase in caregiving responsibilities and it will be more difficult to get their input for the decisions that need to be made.

There are also paying for care resources specific to Alzheimer's.

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Tips and Support

There are many resources available to help you as you make your way through this personal uncharted territory.

 

Compass

Let Us Help You Navigate Your Way

 

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Caregiver Stress

Sad Man

It is hard to imagine a more difficult job than caring for an older family member who has Alzheimer's Disease. Not only do you have added responsibilities, you also are watching your family member deteriorate right before your eyes. Caregiving to these individuals can be very stressful.

We can help you by identifying the signs of caregiver stress and connecting you with information on how to cope and find help, should you need it.


Red Phone




Need Help Anytime?

1-800-272-3900

Alzheimer's Association National Hotline

 

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Bringing in Help

At some point, you may decide that having someone assist you with care in the home would be beneficial. Hiring in-home help for someone with Alzheimer's, especially during the late stages, can be problematic. Ideally, the person hired would have training in dealing with Alzheimer's patients. This is especially true if you, the caregiver, will not be in the home when the in-home worker comes.

 

In-Home Worker Helping Patient

 

Medicare has authorized payment for home health nurses to provide teaching and training for families and other caregivers of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease and behavioral symptoms in certain states. If your state offers this benefit, this program might be worthwhile. Alzheimer's behaviors can be challenging to deal with. If your family members are going to help you in the home, training would be very helpful and would be much less stressful for all concerned.

Medicare also offers the online Home Health Compare which helps you compare the quality of home health agencies.


There are other options as well. Though not all of these options are "in-home", they all serve to give the primary caregiver some relief. They may or may not be available in your area or appropriate for your circumstance.

  • Adult day services
  • Adult Day Health
  • Home Health
  • In-Home Services
  • Institutional Respite
  • Respite care

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When It's Time to Think About Long-Term Care

Having an older family member who has Alzheimer's or Dementia is heartbreaking. Making the decision to find an appropriate home where they will be provided quality care is certainly not easy, but often it becomes necessary. Individuals with an Alzheimer's diagnosis who are living alone risk putting both themselves and others at risk as the disease progresses. And, caregivers cannot always provide needed care within the home, especially as needs increase with the progression of the disease.

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Caregiver Specialist
Caregiver Specialists
are Available to Help You
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What About Hospice Care?

What is hospice care? Hospice care provides social, spiritual and physical support to the dying patient and his or her family. This is done through a team approach that emphasizes comfort measures such as pain management, and counseling to all concerned. This is most often done in the home.

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How You Can Help an Alzheimer's Caregiver or Family

Caregivers providing support for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia have taken on a very intense responsibility. It is critical for their long term well-being that they receive the support of family and friends.

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