Alzheimers/ Dementia Plan Of Care

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As part of our Abby Cares program, we wanted to help our clients and the caregivers we work with by providing a care plan template. This can be tailored to meet your own unique circumstances.

In general, when working with a private caregiver a routine can be important. It gives both a private caregiver, a dementia patient, and their family, a notion of what to expect on a daily basis. A routine can provide stability, reassurance, and a feeling of safety.

In many relationships, a routine is developed over years of learning someone’s needs, likes, dislikes, and mannerisms. Unfortunately, when working with a private caregiver, they often do not have that luxury. Private caregivers are often thrust into situations only when they have become unsustainable for a patient and their families.

Because of these reasons, developing a well thought our care plan is very important. A care plan gives a caregiver, client, and their loved ones a guideline of what to expect. A care plan can change daily with a patient’s needs. Your dementia-specific care plan should be used as a starting point and developed as you see your loved ones needs change to establish a daily routine everyone can count on. A planned day allows Alzheimers Dementia patients, caregivers, and families to spend less time trying to figure out what to do, and more time on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment.

Often clients with Alzheimer’s dementia will eventually need a caregiver’s assistance to organize the day. Structured and pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood. Planning activities for a person with dementia works best when you continually explore, experiment and adjust.

Before making a plan you should consider:

  • The person’s likes, dislikes, strengths, abilities, and interests.
  • How the person used to structure his or her day.
  • What times of day the person functions best.
  • Be sure to allow enough time for meals, bathing, and dressing.
  • Establish regular and consistent times for waking up and going to bed. This can be especially helpful if the person with dementia experiences sleep issues or sundowning.
  • Make sure to allow for flexibility within your daily routine for spontaneous activities.

As Alzheimer’s dementia progresses, the abilities of a person will change. With creativity, flexibility and problem solving, you’ll be able to adapt your daily routine to support these changes.

Here are some daily activities to consider:

  • Household chores
    • Helping with household chores provides a feeling of accomplishment and purpose. It can also be a welcome distraction when an Alzheimer’s dementia patient is stuck in what is referred to as a thought loop.
  • Mealtimes
    • For many meals are a social activity and something to look forward to.
    • Helping with simple preparation tasks much like household chores provides a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
  • Personal care
    • Be sure to encourage independence. Sometimes reminders, redirection, and setting up materials are necessary.
  • Creative activities (music, art, crafts)
    • A family or loved one familiar with an Alzheimer’s dementia patient may know what their likes, dislikes, and distractions are. These should be shared with your private caregiver.
  • Spontaneous (visiting friends)
    • Even with a private caregiver, you should encourage social opportunities with family, friends, and others as tolerated.
  • Intellectual (reading, puzzles)
    • Use it or lose it. Studies show that mentally stimulating activities can help to slow further memory loss. Appropriate activities can engage, distract, and stimulate.
  • Physical
    • With a private caregiver, physical activities can include walks, swimming, gardening, or any number of activities.
  • Spiritual
    • For many, a good routine involves their spiritual health. Share with your caregiver what you believe may be effective for your loved one. This could include attending religious services, being reminded to pray, or even providing caregiver prompts to guide an Alzheimer’s dementia patient.
  • Work-related
    • Our work is typically a big part of our lives. Consider familiar work related activities that provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment but are also appropriate for the stage of Alzheimer’s dementia they are at.
  • Writing a plan
    • If appropriate involve your loved one in the development of a plan.

Some key points to consider when organizing your day:

  • What activities work best? Which don’t? Why? (Success of activity can vary from day-to-day.)
  • Are there times when there is too much going on or too little to do?
  • Were spontaneous activities enjoyable or did they create anxiety and confusion?
  • Don’t be concerned about filling every minute with activity. The person with Alzheimer’s needs a balance of activity and rest and may need more frequent breaks and varied tasks.

Here is a daily plan example to help get you and your caregiver started:

  • Morning
    • Wash, brush teeth, get dressed
    • Prepare and eat breakfast
    • Have a conversation over coffee
    • Discuss the newspaper, try a craft project, reminisce about old photos
    • Take a break, have some quiet time
      • Sometimes there will be downtime with your private caregiver.
    • Do some chores together
      • We recommend having a list of required activities broken down my day. (Monday run the vacuum, Tuesday clean bathroom, Wednesday strip bed, etc….)
    • Take a walk, play an active game
      • BE sure to provide input on examples of what has been enjoyable in the past.
  • Afternoon
    • Prepare and eat lunch, read mail, wash dishes
    • Listen to music, do crossword puzzles, watch TV
    • Do some gardening, take a walk, visit a friend
    • Take a short break or nap
  • Evening
    • Prepare and eat dinner, clean up the kitchen
    • Reminisce over dessert
    • Play cards, watch a movie, give a massage
    • Take a bath, get ready for bed, read a book

​If the individual with Alzheimer’s dementia seems bored, distracted or irritable, it may be time to introduce another activity or to take time out for rest. The type of activity and how well it’s completed are not as important as the joy and sense of accomplishment the person gets from doing it. A good suggestion is to present tasks as though they were the Alzheimer patients idea.

  • Instead of asking someone to “Brush their teeth” consider saying “You were going to brush your teeth, can I get the toothpaste for you?”

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