Alzheimer’s poses challenges that some family caregivers cannot plan for.
Your dad has Alzheimer’s and fell. Your mom has Alzheimer’s and burned her hand taking dinner from the oven. Whatever the situation is, you have to take your parents to the ER. How do you handle it?
Your parent may not remember why you’re going to the hospital or urgent care setting. You’ll be answering the same question every few minutes. It’s the disease keeping your parent from remembering. You have to be patient and stick to short answers.
Keep Additional Injury to a Minimum as Best You Can
It can be hard for your parent to remember what happened. The instinct to touch the area that’s hurting won’t be forgotten. You need to keep the other hand away in order to avoid worsening the injury.
If your dad broke his wrist, he may repeatedly ask why his wrist hurts, is swollen, or looks funny. He’s going to take the ice pack off. He may poke at it, squeeze it, or try to use it. He won’t remember from one minute to the next.
You can hold his other hand to try to prevent him from touching the broken bones. If your mom has a burn, you’ll do the same thing. Try to hold her hand to keep her from trying to touch the burn.
Be Prepared to Answer the Same Questions
You’ll be answering questions for your parent. You may need to prove you hold a medical POA before a doctor will speak with you. You could also carry a birth certificate and a photo ID to prove the relationship.
Prepare to answer the same questions multiple times. You’ll have the intake representative asking what happened. A nurse will do the same when you’re in a room or cubicle. The doctor will do the same. If your parent doesn’t remember what happened, which is normal, you’ll need to explain your parent has dementia and answer the questions as best you can.
Note the Medical Advice
Pay close attention to the advice given to your mom or dad. You’ll need to follow the care plan. It may include keeping a cast dry, scheduling an appointment with physical therapy or surgical specialists, or arranging caregivers for a few weeks.
It’s Time for Home Care
One of the hardest things family caregivers face is the 24/7 demand that Alzheimer’s care requires. Your mom may not sleep well at night and keeps trying to go outside when you’re sleeping. Your dad gets angry and insists you do not belong in his house.
It’s emotionally and physically challenging care. You have to take breaks. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring caregivers. Let caregivers provide respite care so that you can take a vacation, go for a walk, or spend time with friends. A home care agency can make arrangements for you. You just need to call.