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Living well with Alzheimer’s: an introduction
Living well with Alzheimer's Disease is achievable with the right support in place.
Find out the basics of how staying active, eating well and receiving specially-adapted care can help improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer's.
Staying active is crucial to living well with Alzheimer's. The Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (most likely broken up into three 10-minute sessions per day).
These are some of the ways people with Alzheimer's can benefit from regular exercise:
- Maintain independence for longer
- Improved memory and cognition
- Regulated sleeping pattern
- Enhanced mood and self-esteem
- Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation
Depending on the stage of the condition, a physiotherapist may recommend dementia-friendly exercises including:
- Indoor bowls
- Seated exercises
Alzheimer's can have a significant effect on a person's ability to stay properly hydrated and nourished. The condition is often associated with weight fluctuations, predominantly gradual weight loss.
As well as choosing the right foods, it's important to create the right environment and use techniques that help your loved one stay properly nourished.
Here's some key advice for mealtimes:
- Use moist, soft foods that are easy to chew
- Avoid foods that can be difficult to swallow (like sweetcorn or dry biscuits)
- Try smaller, regular meals to overcome appetite loss
- Use calorie-rich milkshakes and smoothies to top up where necessary
- Mix in aromatic herbs and spices to stimulate appetite
Living well with Alzheimer's requires comprehensive support. Live-in care can be adapted to your loved one's specific needs.
These are just some of the ways live-in care can help your loved one maintain independence and enjoy a higher quality of life for longer:
With Alzheimer's, your loved one's condition might change from day-to-day, and is likely to develop over time.
Live-in care is completely adaptable to these changes, and places the onus on helping your loved one stay as independent as possible for as long as they're able.
Periodically, your loved one's bespoke care plan will be reviewed by care managers to ensure it meets their changing needs.
Medication management is a particular challenge for people with Alzheimer's. Your loved one might well have been prescribed a number of different forms of medication for Alzheimer's and other conditions.
It's likely that these medications all come with specific instructions, such as how frequently to take them or whether to take them with food. This can prove confusing for people with Alzheimer's.
With live-in care, a trained medical specialist is on hand 24/7 to make sure your loved one is taking medication in line with doctor's instructions. This can help to avoid symptoms associated with medication mismanagement.
Specialist Communication and Care Techniques
The SPECAL method
Specialised Early Care for Alzheimer’s (SPECAL) is a specialist approach developed to help people with dementia engage with the world around them.
The Good Care Group ensures all live-in carers receive comprehensive training in how to use this approach, and how to help friends and family members interact in the same way.
Life History and Reminiscence
Many people with dementia are able to access older long-term memories but have more trouble storing new memories in the here and now. Tapping into this tendency through life history work such as reminiscence enables us to bridge the gap between here and now, remaining connected and enjoying conversation which is meaningful to both parties.
Consultant Admiral Nurse
Admiral nurses are specialist dementia nurses who give expert practical, clinical and emotional support to families living with dementia to help them cope. They are registered nurses, and have significant experience of working with people with dementia before becoming an Admiral Nurse. Each Admiral Nurse service is operated as a partnership between Dementia UK and a host organisation, which can include the NHS, local authorities, charities and private providers.
Dementia UK support hosts with recruitment and the running of the Admiral Nurse service. Every month, they provide nurses with one day of expert clinical supervision and professional development. This helps them meet the needs of the families they support and stay at the forefront of dementia care. The Good Care Group was one of the first private care providers to offer this important service.
If you want to learn more about the specialist approach The Good Care Group takes towards supporting people with Alzheimer’s, call on our friendly team.