Life Style

Living Independently With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a devastating cognitive degenerative disease that leads to the inability to perform even the most basic day-to-day tasks. While most people are familiar with the effect that the disease has on memory, they are largely unaware of the other symptoms that have just a great impact on the patient as well as their loved ones.

However, this does not mean that a person with early stage Alzheimer’s cannot live independently in the home and surroundings that they are most familiar with. In fact, research suggests that it may be more comforting and beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients to stay in a familiar environment. It is estimated that about 16% of Alzheimer’s patients in America are doing just that.

But what exactly is independent living and how can you go about ensuring that a loved one is safe and secure while dealing with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s?

What Is Independent Living? 

Independent living is basically the ability to live in your own home, support yourself and continue making important life decisions on your own behalf. Due to the cognitive degenerative aspects of Alzheimer’s this becomes more and more difficult as the disease progresses. It can be even more challenging to convince an Alzheimer’s patient that they can no longer care for themselves and need to be moved to a care or nursing home.

However, in the early stages of the disease, where only minimal memory loss, disorientation and decision-making abilities are affected, it is still possible for an Alzheimer’s patient to remain at home. As the cognitive degeneration progresses, this becomes more difficult. One of the first signs that the disease is entering the later stages is the tendency to wander off and get lost. This poses a huge safety risk for Alzheimer’s patients. However, living in their own home is still possible with a 24 hour or live-in caregiver.

The later stages of Alzheimer’s often means that decision-making is no longer possible due to increased episodes of disorientation. Patients in the later stages of the disease will also become agitated and more aggressive. It is believed that it is a combination of the cognitive degeneration and the inability to remember plus disorientation that cause frustration and therefore agitation. Once again, it is still possible for the Alzheimer’s patient to live at home under the supervision of a home care assistant.

What Are The Benefits Of Homecare Assistance?

It can be argued that once homecare assistance is introduced, the Alzheimer’s patient is no longer truly living independently. However, they are still maintaining some sense of independence and dignity that they would forego if they were placed in a nursing or care home. The benefits provided by home care assistance give Alzheimer’s patients the freedom to live at home while reducing the risks associated with independent living.

Home care assistance offers the following benefits:

– Supervision of the patient to prevent wandering.

– Preparing meals.

– Taking care of personal hygiene needs.

– Ensuring medication is taken regularly.

– Running errands.

– Ensuring the patient stays mentally, physically and socially active.

Above all, home care assistance provides companionship for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Independent living can often be lonely and research has found that loneliness can speed up cognitive degeneration. Learn more here:

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