To select just the right gift for anyone with Alzheimer’s it is helpful to know the characteristics of the present stage as well as what to expect in upcoming stages.
When planning your shopping this holiday season keep in mind that the severity of dementia, the Alzheimer’s stage affects your choice of gift.
Alzheimer’s disease progresses through stages that are fairly consistent and predictable. Cognitive and physical abilities are lost sequentially as the disease progresses. Other types of dementia are not as predictably progressive, but many of the same skills and competences eventually are lost to other dementias. Whenever possible gifts should be selected to complement and strengthen remaining abilities.
Read more about how Alzheimer’s stage affects abilities at our website, www.best-alzheimers-products.com:
Stage 1 Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease begins affecting those areas in the brain responsible for memory processing (memory creation), spatial navigation, and speech and language comprehension.
Care in the early stage of Alzheimer’s should focus on helping to maintain independence.
The first stage, mild Alzheimer’s disease, is characterized by some memory loss, especially memory of more recent events. A person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s will likely be able to carry out the daily activities of living, but may begin to forget familiar words and names when speaking, and have trouble finding things. Judgment and attention span will become impaired. Many of the activities that a person enjoyed earlier in life can still be enjoyed in the early stage.
- Aids such as photo phones or automatic pill dispensers can help maintain independence.
- Concentrate on activities that stimulate memory:
- Trivia Games
- Word Puzzles
- Memory Games
- Reminiscence (photo albums, music, conversation)
*The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada has good information concerning the stages of Alzheimer’s
Stage 2 Alzheimer’s
Next to be effected by the spread of Alzheimer’s disease are parts of the brain that govern things like choice, planning,judgement, cognition, and perception. These are our executive functions and in large part make us who we are. As a person progresses through this second stage, he will begin to lose older memories.
Inappropriate judgment becomes a bigger concern and can become a real safety issue.
Hygiene might be neglected.
Sleep disorders, including disruptions in the sleep/wake cycle and sundowning begin to become a problem (Light therapy and aromatherapy can be useful tools to treat sleep disorders.)
Incontinence should be watched for.
There will likely be a loss in initiative – the affected person will not think to start anything or to do anything. The caregiver’s role must become more proactive at this point, helping the care-receiver start and continue with an activity.
Stage 3 Alzheimer’s
The brain’s cortex is now damaged more severely. Memories are lost almost completely and communication becomes difficult. Most basic functions including motor and organ functioning are affected as the disease spreads to the cerebellum and then to the brain stem.
Care of a person in the third stage of Alzheimer’s disease should concentrate on providing comfort.
This is severe Alzheimer’s disease and is characterized by almost complete memory loss and the inability to communicate. A person in this stage will need help with all of the basic activities of daily living.The person in the last stages of the disease will become unresponsive; don’t take that to mean that he or she does not hear or see. Look for subtle indications that your loved one is responding. This can be most evident in the eyes, or from a gentle, almost imperceptible smile. Don’t give up. Your efforts now may be more important than ever before.
Sensory stimulation becomes an important part of comfort therapy. Soft objects, music, gentle motion including light motion, and aromatherpy are good choices. Gentle massage of the hands, feet, and face will be deeply appreciated.
Early in this stage people may still benefit from simple art activities as well as reminiscence therapy. Even later singing old favorite songs to them may surprise you and become singing old favorite songs with them.
Keep in mind that they are totally dependent on you for their care, as you may have once been entirely dependent upon theirs.
ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS
Click on the pictures and links below for more ideas for enjoying the holidays and other special occasions.
See the Internet’s most comprehensive guide for people with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease.
Long Distance Gift Giving:Things to consider when buying a gift this season for someone you won’t be able to share it with personally.