For individuals with Alzheimer’s, life may become more and more difficult to manage, as they are experiences irreparable damage to their brain. As an individual’s diagnosis progresses, his or her symptoms may cause them to face complications that impact their daily life. These symptoms are not the same for every person and may range in severity depending on the progression of the disease and the way the particular person responds to the deterioration of the brain. These symptoms may include, but is not limited to:
- Impaired vision
- Impaired motor functions
- Personality, behavior and mood changes
When an individual is experiencing these symptoms and complications of Alzheimer’s, he or she will likely be prescribed medication to help mitigate the severity of these complications. As aforementioned, the symptoms and complications of Alzheimer’s may vary from person to person, therefore making the prescribed medication vary from case to case. Depending on how the client is doing with their diagnosis, a doctor may prescribe a wide variety of drugs and prescriptions to them to alleviate their symptoms. Such medications include:
- Anti-anxiety medicine
- Sleeping medication
- Anti-aggression medicine
- Other drugs that may treat their medical conditions besides Alzheimer’s
It is very important to note that a medical professional that specializes in Alzheimer’s may not fully be aware of all the medications that an individual is taking outside of their direction. Since Alzheimer’s patients often forget details of their life, he or she may forget to disclose to them that they are taking other medications. Hiring an in-home caregiver can help alleviate any sense of worry or fear that medications and prescriptions will slip through the cracks and impact one another. A caregiver can be the safety net that an Alzheimer’s patient and their family relies on.
How Can a Caregiver Help with Medication Reminders and Other Daily Activities?
A senior in-home care can provide a great sense of relief for the family of the individual with Alzheimer’s, as well as the patient themselves. Caregivers can not only help their clients with meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation assistance and personal care, but they can help ensure that their client is safe in their own home. Safety most notably means that the individual is living in a home that is free of fall hazards or objects that can injure the individual, but it also can mean that the caregiver ensures they are being safe with their medication as well.
When a caregiver is hired, he or she will likely start to get to know their client’s routine, which includes the medications that they have been prescribed by a doctor. When onboarding a new client, the caregiver should get familiar with their medications in the most detailed way possible, which may be by asking their clients’ doctor or pharmacist directly about these prescriptions. Questions that a caregiver should ask a doctor regarding medication includes:
- Why is this medication being prescribed?
- What should this medication do? How can I gauge if this medication is working?
- What are some side effects that I should look out for? Are there any side effects that are not normal for the client to experience?
- How often should they be taking this medication?
- How often should this prescription be renewed?
- What are the exact dosages and details? (How many times a day? For how long? What time of the day? With food?)
- What happens if the individual misses a dose?
- What medication can interfere with the success of this particular medication?
During this time with their client’s medical professional, the caregiver should also bring any and all medications that the client has indicated that they are taking. Since most Alzheimer’s patients seem to forget about their prescriptions, a caregiver is instructed to ask the family members or the support system of the patient to ensure they are aware of all their prescribed medications. The caregiver should then present the prescriptions in question, ensuring that the doctor is aware of any and all complications that could possibly arise from taking them together.
After the meeting with their medical professional, the caregiver can now go home with the client and ensure that he or she is taking the proper medication at the appropriate times. This means that the caregiver is to administer safe medication management, which entails the following:
- Medications are kept in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet or drawer, out of the reach of the client that may not be able to remember if he or she took the medication yet that day. This is not to undermine the authority of the client, but rather keep it in a place that ensures the only person who can access it is the caregiver or their support system.
- Medication administration plan should be recorded and honored after meeting with the doctor that prescribed the medications. After asking all of the necessary questions and getting all of the necessary information, the caregiver should put together a medication administration plan and schedule that he or she can refer to when they need to. In the event that the caregiver is not physically with their client and another caregiving professional or family member is with the person with Alzheimer’s, he or she can give the appropriate medication to the client at the right time.
- Conversely, when medication has been taken and the plan has been adhered to, logging that information is just as important as writing down the plan in the beginning stages of care. This comes in handy if the caregiver needs to reference the type of medication that the client ingested in case of an emergency, if a family member asks or if the doctor checks up on them. This is also very handy for the caregiver to ensure that their client is getting the care that they need and deserve in order to live a healthy and happy life, despite their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
It is important to note that for non-medical home care companies that a caregiver cannot actually administer the medication to the client. This means that if the Alzheimer’s patient has the physical capability to administer their own medication, their caregiver should and could be with a professional non-medical company. If the individual does not have the physical capabilities to not only administer but monitor their medications, a non-medical in-home caregiver may be the right choice for them. The caregiver can essentially ensure that the client is getting the medicine he or she needs, without physically administering the medication (placing pill in the mouth or hooking up an IV). Medication management for caregivers that are with non-medical home care companies cane ensure the client is safe and under the appropriate supervision for the amount of medications that he or she is taking at any given time.
Hiring a caregiver to assist with medication reminders and management gives clients with Alzheimer’s the chance to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life, despite their diagnosis. An in-home caregiver can ensure the individual is abiding by their prescribed medication plan, as well as the general prescribed care plan that will keep them in the comfort of their own home longer. An in-home caregiver can change the trajectory of an Alzheimer’s patients life.