caregiver and senior man sitting in the wheelchair smiling

Caregivers you can count on

We only hire caregivers we trust enough to care for our own parents.

Learn More

A Caregiver’s Guide: Adapting Caregiving Strategies Throughout the Stages of Alzheimer’s


Alzheimer’s affects everyone a little differently, but understanding the progression of the disease will help for better planning. Keep in mind that when it comes to Alzheimer’s, even the best-laid plans can falter. Continuous education about Alzheimer’s care and enlisting the support of professionals, family, and friends are essential.

Care Focus for Beginning Stages:

Family members can best assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s through planning together, providing a patient, calm listening ear and memory prompts when needed.

What you might expect:

  • Your loved one may experience some changes in thinking and learning abilities, which may not be detectable to others without daily contact.
  • This stage of the disease can last for years.

What you can do:

  • Be a care advocate for your loved one, providing emotional support and encouragement.
  • Help your loved one to stay healthy and engaged in what he or she loves doing.
  • Provide memory prompts and personal organization assistance when needed.
  • Establish a regular daily routine.
  • Provide assistance with money management or hire a professional to assist.
  • Help plan for the future:
    • Discuss care setting desires (home, assisted living, hospice) and identify care providers.
    • Research support groups.
    • Discuss end-of-life care requests.

What you may need:

  • A geriatric care manager to assist with planning care options.
  • A smartphone app or other tool for sharing calendars that has audible reminders.
  • Medication reminder system (could be an electronic device or a smartphone app).
  • Time alone and with friends to keep your mind engaged in positive activities.

Care Focus for Middle Stages:

Care strategies will be focused on flexibility, patience, and daily structure with time for self-care for the caregiver.

What you might expect:

  • Behavioral changes can occur, including sleep changes, physical and verbal outbursts (sometimes abusive), wandering, and repetition of questions and activities.
  • This stage can last for many years, and an increased amount of care will be needed as dementia progresses.
  • Daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and communicating may become more difficult.

What you can do:

  • Encourage as much independence as possible, but be ready to assist when needed.
  • Enhance the quality of life by doing simple activities together such as gardening or walking.
  • Assist with communication efforts by speaking slowly and with simple, short sentences. Be patient in waiting for a response, as it may take some time to process your request.
  • Daily routines and structure are important.

What you may need:

  • Assistance from a specially trained Alzheimer’s in-home caregiver to develop personalized caregiving and communication strategies.
  • Someone to care for your loved one when you are away, as it will become dangerous for your loved one to be left alone.

Care Focus for Late Stages:

Compassionate caregiving is focused on preserving the dignity and quality of life of your loved one while maintaining a safe, clean and healthy environment.

What you might expect:

  • This stage of the disease may last for a few weeks to several years.
  • Your loved one may have difficulty with eating, swallowing, and walking.
  • Oftentimes the ability to communicate with words and expression is lost.
  • A vulnerability to infections, especially pneumonia is experienced.
  • Incontinence is common.
  • Close family members may become unidentifiable or seem like the enemy.

What you can do:

  • Even though your loved one may be unable to talk, you can still connect with your loved one. Express your caring through touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell.
  • Assistance with eating may be necessary, adapting foods as needed for easier swallowing.
  • Set a toileting schedule and provide assistance in the bathroom.
  • If your loved one is bedridden or chair-bound, learn the ways to avoid pressure sores and “joint freezing” by relieving body pressure and increasing circulation.
  • Take precautions to prevent infections.
  • Watch for non-verbal signs that may indicate pain such as pale or flushed skin, swelling, wincing facial expressions, or agitation.

What you may need:

  • Around-the-clock care, with assistance from specially trained Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • Training in how to perform the Heimlich maneuver in case of choking.
  • Incontinence products.
  • Hospice care, which focuses on dignity and quality of life.
  • Training from a professional care provider on how to properly lift a person without causing injury, and/or a lifting device that can be installed in the home.

Caring Companions’ caregivers are specially trained in providing skillful in-home caregiving for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia throughout the progression of the disease. Whether you are looking for respite, around-the-clock care, or a hands-on way to learn techniques for providing the best care possible for your loved one, we are here for you and your family. Contact Us Today.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *