Dementia is Everyone's Business
08/21/2015 02:47PM ● Published by Aubray Onderik
Contributed by Home Instead Senior Care
If you’re a family caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you likely know firsthand the challenges of going into the community with your loved one. Misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease persist. But, thanks to broader education efforts, more people are understanding what it means to have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia illness.
Be sure to tell the businesses you frequent, from your favorite restaurant to the local grocery store to the neighborhood bank, about the Home Instead Senior Care TRADEMARK SYMBOL network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business SERVICE MARK SYMBOL program.
The 30-minute training is designed to help a business’ employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to help ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect.
Beyond the training, here are some signs to look for that indicate a business may be easier to navigate for an individual with a dementia illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Someone with Alzheimer’s may need help with using the restroom and that can be difficult if a daughter is with her father (or a son is with his mother). Consider enlisting a caregiver of the same sex as your loved one to assist on an outing.
Restaurants That Have Quiet Places
Loud noises can cause agitation for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Restaurants with meeting rooms or secluded corners that are available for dining use may work best.
Aim to visit a business when you know it will not be as busy or you won’t have to wait in line.
Even if they aren’t formerly trained to recognize and deal with those who have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, frequent businesses where the staff is known to be polite, honest, patient and congenial.
Look for businesses that have simple processes and procedures. If it’s a restaurant, make sure it’s a place where you can offer an individual with a dementia illness simple menu choices.
Akzheimer’s To Go Checklist
Being prepared is one of the best ways to ensure an individual with Alzheimer’s disease has what he or she needs for a stress-free experience in the community. Keep it simple.
Something to Hold
It can be helpful for someone with a dementia illness to have something to grasp to keep his or her hand occupied. A water bottle, for instance, “kills two birds with one stone.” Water keeps an individual hydrated and helps prevent fidgeting.
Take along a hat, baseball cap or umbrella. Think about the weather as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia can be especially sensitive to outside conditions, such as extreme heat or cold.
Keep healthy snacks on hand both for the individual with Alzheimer’s as well as you, the caregiver. Caregivers can find themselves too busy to eat if food is not readily available.
Bags or Totes
Keeping track of belongings when you’re going out can be a challenge for anyone, but especially so for someone with dementia. Totes can come in handy for a variety of items including snacks, sun screen, books and magazines and provide an easy way to help a loved one keep track of everything.
A Notebook and a Pen or Pencil
Individuals with a dementia illness sometimes like to make lists. That’s why it’s good to have something to write on and with. A notebook is also a great place for the family caregiver to write down questions for or comments from the doctor.
Emergency Contact Information
Wandering is one potential behavioral symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure that both you and a loved one has contact and medical information on you or in an easily accessible location at all times. This can be critical, for example, if one of you is in an accident and unable to speak for himself or herself.