Alzheimer's Disease Causes, Stages, and Symptoms (cont.)

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General Safety Concerns

People with Alzheimer's disease become increasingly unable to take care of themselves. However, the disease progresses differently in each person. As a caregiver, you face the ongoing challenge of adapting to each change in the person's behavior and functioning. The following general principles may be helpful.

  1. Think prevention. It is very difficult to predict what a person with Alzheimer's might do. Just because something has not yet occurred does not mean it should not be cause for concern. Even with the best-laid plans, accidents can happen. Therefore, checking the safety of your home will help you take control of some of the potential problems that may create hazardous situations.
  2. Adapt the environment. It is more effective to change the environment than to change most behaviors. While some Alzheimer's behaviors can be managed with special medications prescribed by a doctor, many cannot. You can make changes in an environment to decrease the hazards and stressors that accompany these behavioral and functional changes.
  3. Minimize danger. By minimizing danger, you can maximize independence. A safe environment can be a less restrictive environment where the person with Alzheimer's disease can experience increased security and more mobility.

Is it Safe to Leave the Person With Alzheimer's disease Alone?

This issue needs careful evaluation and is certainly a safety concern. The following points may help you decide.

Does the person with Alzheimer's:

  • become confused or unpredictable under stress?
  • recognize a dangerous situation, for example, fire?
  • know how to use the telephone in an emergency?
  • know how to get help?
  • stay content within the home?
  • wander and become disoriented?
  • show signs of agitation, depression, or withdrawal when left alone for any period of time?
  • attempt to pursue former interests or hobbies that might now warrant supervision, such as cooking, appliance repair, or woodworking?

You may want to seek input and advice from a health care professional to assist you in these considerations. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, these questions will need ongoing evaluation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2013

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Alzheimer's Disease - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe the symptoms you or loved one experienced with Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's Disease - Treatments Question: What stage of Alzheimer's disease are you or your loved one currently experiencing, and have any treatments been effective?
Alzheimer's Disease - Prognosis Question: What is the prognosis for your friend or relative who has Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's Disease - Dementia Question: Has a friend or relative been diagnosed with dementia? What are her/his symptoms?
Alzheimer's Disease - Warning Signs Question: Do you have any of the warning signs of Alzheimer's? Please discuss your symptoms and concerns.
Alzheimer's Disease - Home Safety Question: In what ways have you made the home safer for a friend or relative with Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's Disease - Medications Question: If your relative is on a medication for Alzheimer's, what changes have you noticed?
Alzheimer's Disease - Driving Question: What motivated you to take away the keys or car from your loved one who has Alzheimer's?

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