Today 5.4 million American’s suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the number of afflicted people expected to rise to nearly 16 million by the year 2050 and no prescription drug cure in sight. As the number of seniors suffering the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s increases, so will the need for in-home caregivers who are trained and capable of providing care to people with this unique set of symptoms.
Characterized by memory loss and confusion that disrupts a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks, Alzheimer’s is also often accompanied by intense frustration, anger, wandering and more. Training home care professionals to properly interact with individuals with Alzheimer’s will allow your agency to provide care that stands shoulders above the rest. Below are five tips on home care training for your staff of caregivers to help get you started.
1. Encourage Routine:
Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often thrive on routine. Encourage your caregivers to keep on track with the care plan and report updates to tasks via home care software. Doing the same thing, at the same time during each shift (with shifts scheduled for the same times of the day) will help establish stability for your Alzheimer’s client.
2. Teach Caregivers to Manage Frustration:
Different stages of Alzheimer’s can be characterized by anger and frustration, causing clients to be potentially difficult to work with. Arm your caregivers with techniques to manage their own frustration and remember that any outbursts from clients are not personal, but a side effect of the disease. Instruct caregivers to make notes of mood shifts in your home care software to keep family members and other care providers in the loop.
3. Integrate Physical and Mental Exercise:
Keeping individuals with Alzheimer’s physically and mentally active will help them maintain their mental and physical independence for as long as possible. Encourage caregivers, when suitable, to go for a walk with their client, do a simple exercise video together or work on a puzzle after lunch.
4. Involve the Client:
Just as exercise is important, so is feeling of use. If the client is capable of doing so, and it is appropriate, encourage caregivers to get their client involved with daily activities. Preparing lunch? Let your client help wash vegetables. Doing laundry? Work together to fold clean towels. Taking part in activities of daily living like these also helps foster that ever-important sense of routine and vocational purpose.
5. Teach Communication Skills to Caregivers:
Communicating with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease requires a special set of skills as the disease progresses. Teach caregivers to speak slowly, in a calm tone and utilize gestures and pictures to help communicate with clients. Patient communication will lead to a positive client-caregiver relationship.