Simple Solutions to Everyday Caregiving Challenges

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by Ray Burow |

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Little annoyances often are the most frustrating for caregivers. Well, perhaps they’re not the most frustrating, but those small irritants certainly do rank right up there.

These challenges don’t stem directly from the jobs related to caregiving or the person for whom care is provided. Rather, caregivers become exasperated with everyday events that shouldn’t be a big deal — and usually aren’t for a person who is cognitively sound. But for people with dementia, changing the channels on the television set, reading a book, or warming up a cold cup of coffee, for example, become obstacles to their independence.

The act of watching or listening isn’t the problem, but managing technology often is.

Something as simple as the buttons on a remote control can initiate confusion and will interrupt a caregiver’s day. While caregivers are knee-deep in the tasks of caregiving, we also are balancing family, friends, jobs, and more. There are only so many hours in a day, and every minute counts.

When a loved one is distracted by a favorite television show or watching the news, it is a moment for the caregiver to catch up with whatever is on the day’s agenda. Interruptions to change a channel on the television are frustrating. Undoing the tangled mess of options that appear on the TV screen, and following a series of buttons being pushed or clicked over and over are equally exasperating. It doesn’t build confidence for a person with Alzheimer’s, either.

Restore confidence with simple solutions

Supporting a loved one and helping them to function at the top of their game at each stage of the disease should be every caregiver’s goal. Everyday objects can challenge that goal, but the following simple solutions will help.

TV remote control

Take a look at your TV’s remote control. How many buttons are displayed? Multiple buttons for multiple functions, right?

Three basic functions are all a person with dementia needs to successfully control the television: on/off, volume control, and channel control. That’s it. Simplifying the process for watching TV is one small way to boost your loved one’s confidence. It may also save the caregiver multiple interruptions.

You can see an example of a simple TV remote control here.

Phones

Using the phone is another challenge that people with cognitive issues face. Again, too many button choices on the face of the phone present a challenge. Sometimes the challenge isn’t related to cognition but rather another health issue. For example, a senior may find it difficult to read the numbers if they have macular degeneration.

Opt for a phone with large buttons and numbers. If your loved one is able to use a smartphone, keep it simple. Limit the apps, choose a large font, set the display to bright, and adjust the volume so a call won’t be missed. Additionally, if notifications prove to be a problem, set the phone to airplane mode. This will also eliminate the possibility of inadvertently scouring the internet by accident.

Books

Reading is a great pastime, but it’s difficult for seniors who have compromised vision. Choose books with large fonts or print. Digital books might be a good choice for some, but not all. Reading on a tablet allows you to set the perfect font to match your loved one’s vision. Adjusting the tablet’s brightness is advantageous for reading the words on the screen, and it’s impossible to lose your place because the tablet keeps it for you. This is sometimes an issue for a person with short-term memory loss. One drawback is that seniors with dementia may find it difficult to navigate between apps and the book they’re reading. Limiting apps may be useful.

These are just a few simple solutions to everyday problems. Do you have others? Please share in the comments below.

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Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.

Comments

Collins avatar

Collins

Thanks for the tips.I think yoga also help to control yourself especially for those suffering from anger, anxiety or depression.Thank for your post I really enjoyed it.

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Ray Burow avatar

Ray Burow

Hi Collins,
I am sure that you are spot on. Exercise plays a crucial part in the defense against Alzheimer's disease and the illnesses that accompany it. I recently interviewed a personal trainer regarding the subject. You might find the article interesting. Here's the link: https://alzheimersnewstoday.com/2020/08/03/seniors-exercise-improve-fitness-strength/

All the best!
Ray Burow

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