Gerontology College Research Paper on Alzheimer’s Disease
In addition to the preparation of the layout of a home, there are several cognitive issues that must be dealt with in order to ensure the safety and happiness of the Alzheimer’s patient. The most obvious of these is, of course, memory. Because of the deteriorating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, objects and essentials may become difficult to locate within a house if an effort is not made to ensure that they are all placed in convenient, easy to locate places. A large amount of unnecessary agitation can be caused by poor placement of objects within a care home, since a patient will often get frustrated with himself/herself if he/she cannot find the object being looked for.
Another issue that must be dealt with is the tendency and desire of an Alzheimer’s patient to wander. While wandering should not be discouraged, steps should be taken to ensure that it may be done safely. For example, familiar and reassuring objects should be placed within the local area, e.g., within a garden, etc., in order to encourage wandering locally, rather than leaving open the possibility of wandering away from the care-giver without his/her being aware of it. Also, one must prevent wanderings by car, etc. for obvious safety reasons.
A patient with severe Alzheimer’s Disease would be very dangerous if allowed to wander off in a motor vehicle without anyone’s being aware of it. On the subject of being aware, Warner advised that a care-giver prepare some method of alerting him/her of the wanderings of the patient, in order to assure a “sneaky escape attempt” is not made. Such alerting devices may take an active (audible signaling device, for example) or passive (silent alarm, etc.) form. The alerting device should be designed to match the individual needs of the patient. For example, if a patient had some sort of authority complex, it may be advisable to rig up a silent alarm in order not to reinforce his/her sense of non-independence.
A crucial safety factor is that of access denial. There are undoubtedly many items around a typical household that pose a potential threat to the memory deprived Alzheimer’s patient. Such dangers may include chemicals, sharp objects, etc. There are four main methods that Warner mentions that may be used to reduce the danger of these objects to the patient. These are: removing the danger, using diversions, camouflage, and hiding the locks. The first method seems to be intuitive; simply get rid of the object. Diversions may be used to distract the attention of the patent away from the hazards.
Camouflage may be used to hide the objects from the patient. And one may need to hide the locks in order to reduce the temptation of the patient to get inside the locked enclosures.
Another aspect of Alzheimer’s Disease that was examined in my research is the role of the care-giver, and his/her responsibilities. In a bound pamphlet entitled, “Caring for the Care-giver,”