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Mouth Care for Alzheimer's Patients

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Updated: September 3, 2005

Caregiver information about mouth care

When someone has Alzheimer's disease, or any type of illness where they cannot adequately care for themselves, caregivers have to intervene. Neglecting mouth care can lead to infection, poor food intake, health problems and can cause distress and discomfort that may then be exhibited in behavior changes and other psychological problems.

Mouth care and Alzheimer's
When someone with Alzheimer's disease, or other dementia needs mouth care you have a number of issues you need to consider.

  • The person you are caring for will have variable understanding of what is happening to them

  • The person requiring mouth care may not always be able to carry out your instructions

  • The person with Alzheimer's or other neurological disease or disability, still needs to be encouraged as much as possible to help themselves and participate in the activity.
  • Important caregiver rules and mouth care
    Always explain to the person having mouth care what you are doing.
    You may need to remind the person what you are doing to reassure them and to encourage their cooperation.
    Always talk to them in kind and measured way. Use simple sentences, minimize other distracting noises or circumstances.
    Ensure you maintain the dignity of someone you are caring for.
    If you find you are becoming impatient or irritated, stop!. You can always come back to carrying out the mouth care later.

    For more detailed information on mouth care for
    (1)Someone with Alzheimer's or confused state who requires assistance with their mouth care
    (2)Someone with Alzheimer's or other severe debilitating illness who needs total mouth care carried out for them.

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