There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and each stage has different needs for the in home caregiver.
In the early or mild first stage of Alzheimer’s disease a person will experience frequent short-term memory loss, coordination problems, depression and other symptoms. This stage can last two to four years before the disease progresses.
When providing home health and home care resources for your friend or loved one with Alzheimer’s at this stage, always remember that while this person’s mind is deteriorating, they are still an adult. Any activities that you provide for them should be intended for adult use, not children. It’s also important to provide an activity that the person has previously enjoyed, and not something that is completely new or could cause frustration.
In this high-functioning stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the person can still do household chores such a raking leaves, sweeping, setting the table, and caring for plants and pets. They can enjoy coloring (with pencils, not crayons), doing puzzles, crafts such as painting and sculpture, putting photos into albums, and watching movies. Taking walks, going shopping, attending church and visiting museums or attending a social tea can also be a pleasant and easy way to spend time together.
Individual circumstances will vary and the person with the mild stages of Alzheimer’s disease may need guidance or assistance with cooking and their ability to drive themselves may become impaired during this stage.
Whether playing cards together or participating in an exercise program together, the important thing is that the person with Alzheimer’s remains engaged in the activity. Such sensory stimulation helps preserve their basic skills—such as being able to button a shirt—and function as independently as possible for as long as possible.