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Ways to Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer's

Helping With Alzheimer's: Bathing, Dressing, Grooming, Eating, and Medications

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Updated November 05, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Helping your loved one with Alzheimer's to bathe, dress, eat, groom, and take medications safely are tasks that make up the core of being an Alzheimer's caregiver. These five pieces all describe strategies and tips to help ease the burden on you and your loved one during these critical activities of daily living. Whether it's deciding to do a tub bath or shower, or how to use jewelry to reflect your loved one's past, these strategies and tips may contribute positively to your quality of life and your loved one's, too.

1. Bathing and Alzheimer's

Helping to bathe a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is arguably the most challenging aspect of Alzheimer's caregiving. Even professional Alzheimer's caregivers struggle with this, and psychiatric medications are sometimes used to treat the anxiety, agitation and aggression that may accompany this critical activity of daily living. The ideas and strategies in this piece are meant to minimize the need for medications and to ensure the bathing process goes smoothly and with minimal discomfort or distress.

2. Dressing and Alzheimer's

Helping your loved one with dressing is an important way to preserve dignity and feelings of being respected. Due to both memory loss and apraxia, choosing and putting on clothing can be difficult for a person with Alzheimer's disease. Read this piece for strategies and tips to help your loved one maintain her appearance and maximize her self-esteem.

3. Grooming and Alzheimer's

Helping your loved one with grooming is an important way to maximize self-esteem and quality of life. Due to both memory loss and apraxia, abilities often taken for granted, such as combing hair and brushing teeth, may be lost. The strategies and tips presented here will ensure that grooming as a pleasurable activity is maintained in Alzheimer's disease as long as possible.

4. Eating and Alzheimer's

Helping your loved one with Alzheimer's disease to eat may be extremely rewarding. Not only should eating be a pleasurable experience for a person with Alzheimer's disease, it should also be an opportunity to reminisce, to enjoy each other's company, and to relish in your loved one's enjoyment of a good meal. People with late-stage Alzheimer's disease are at particular risk for malnutrition.

5. Medication Safety and Alzheimer's

Helping your loved one with their medications is one of the more important aspects of Alzheimer's caregiving. While proper, prudent use of medications may help improve your loved one's quality of life and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and medical problems, they can have the opposite effects when used improperly or unsafely. In this piece, the strategies and tips for medication use may help avoid problems like worsening confusion and increased unsteadiness.

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  5. Alzheimer's Help - Ways to Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer's

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