If you are a home health care aide, then you may take care of patients who have Alzheimer's disease. Older individuals with Alzheimer's can be quite challenging, and you may find that you have to deal with agitation and general behavioral issues. These problems often occur due to stress, and the patient also may be trying to cope with confusion and the loss of independence. You can help to reduce issues with behavior by creating a supportive and calm environment in the home. Follow the tips below to do this.
Play Classical Music
Many people respond emotionally to music. Music can make you feel happy, sad, energized, or mad. Some tunes can also reduce stress and provide a sense of calm. This is true of classical music, and research indicates that it can reduce emotional distress, boost quality of life, reduce depression, and increase self-esteem. Music played at a low volume is best for stress relief, and you also should consider sonatas or compositions with a slow tempo. This can help to reduce the heart rate and pulse.
Consider playing classical music throughout the day on a stereo system, and provide your patient with a small CD player or MP3 player so music can be heard through headphones during alone times. When picking out music to play, consider compositions from composers like Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Vivaldi, Verdi, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. Music from these composers is considered slow and your patient may also recognize some sonatas you play. This may bring back memories and help to encourage brain stimulation while stress is reduced.
There are many reasons why an Alzheimer's patient may show signs of aggression, depression, and stress. Poor sleeping habits may be one reason for these emotional difficulties. People with Alzheimer's typically stay up later at night and wake up more often after falling asleep. Also, some elderly individuals may become drowsy in the afternoon and choose to take a nap. People with Alzheimer's also naturally become confused and agitated in the evening, and this sort of situation is called sundowning. Sundowning can cause a great deal of restlessness at night.
Depression also may cause sleeping difficulties as well and pain may be a contributing factor too. All of these issues can be helped or assisted through exercising. Exercising will produce endorphins in the brain to elevate the mood, and activities will loosen muscles, tendons, and ligaments to minimize general soreness. Also, exercise will help to tire out the patient, so they can sleep better at night.
Many older individuals do not have a great deal of physical strength. This means that most forms of aerobic exercise are out of the question. Walking is a good form of exercise though, so consider taking the patient for walks during the day. Mall walking is a great option. These types of walks provide a specific routine and repetition. Both routines and repetitive tasks can be soothing for someone with Alzheimer's.
Walks outdoors are a good option as well, because the sun can reduce depression symptoms. If you travel outside for exercise, just make sure that your patient has the right type of sneakers to wear. Shoes with flexible soles are a good option, because the feet can better feel and grip the ground. Breathable uppers are a good choice too, because they help to reduce sweating. The shoes also should have velcro closures so the patient can easily close the sneakers themselves and feel a sense of independence.
If the sneakers are not enough to provide support during walks, then consider providing your patient with a rollator device. Rollators are rolled walkers and some of these devices have thick, rubber, all-terrain wheels that are perfect for outdoor excursions.
If you take care of Alzheimer's patients, then you likely notice some aggression, agitation, and stress issues on occasion. You can reduce some of these behavioral issues by playing classical music and by exercising with him or her.