ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE / DEMENTIA

About the Condition

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading form of dementia found in elderly patients marked by the slow degeneration of a person’s cognitive function due to impaired communication between nerve cells in the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with severe loss of memory and changes in behaviour.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms change and can become more exaggerated, especially as the individual’s memories become more and more short term.

Symptoms

  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks.
  • Disorientation.
  • Trouble with language.
  • Unpredictable moods.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Reduced mobility.
  • Decreased muscular function/increased fatigue.
  • Difficulty swallowing (in later stages).
  • Inability to walk (in the final stages of AD).

Useful Tips for Patients & Caregivers

Becoming as familiar as possible with these signs and symptoms can help caregivers recognise any progression that is happening. For family members, knowing about Alzheimer’s and what to look for can make it easier to care for and understand individuals with the disease.

The following tips may help too:

  • Keep simple daily schedules on hand and establish a routine. Keep familiar objects and photos close by.
  • Give the person simple either/or choices and simple instruction. Don’t force your help until they ask for it.
  • Make sure everything around them is safe.
  • Remind them of upcoming events often. Don’t get frustrated if you have to repeat yourself.
  • Don’t make a big deal of the person forgetting simple words for familiar items. Just casually say it in your reply.
  • Be calm and don’t take their anger or paranoia personally. Allow them to express their emotions safely.
  • Make sure the person is sleeping comfortably, even if at irregular hours of the day.

FAMILY SUPPORT

Read our blog which contains vital information on how to support and care for the individual, positively impacting upon their overall health and wellbeing.

READ BLOG

REAL PATIENT CASE STUDY

Valerie was an 86 year old lady with dementia and limited mobility.  She spent much of the day with her arms crossed to stabilise herself in her chair.

READ VALERIE’S STORY

Selecting the Right Chair

It is very important that the chair is multi adjustable enabling it to meet the changing needs of the person as their condition changes. Cognitive changes may reduce the patient’s ability to ‘learn’ new products and operations and so having a chair that will adjust easily and which accessories can be added to as needed, will ensure continuity and familiarity.

The Sorrento™, Phoenix™, Atlanta™ and Monaco™ chairs in particular are designed to suit the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The Phoenix and Sorrento are helpful in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease when muscular function is lost.  The Seating Matters Phoenix and Sorrento chairs are highly adjustable, providing full body support and pressure management. Accessories can be added to the chairs at a later date as and when they may be required, to meet patient’s changing needs as they evolve over a period of time.  Both the Sorrento and Phoenix come in manual and powered options.  Manual adjustment leaves the control of the seating positions to the caregiver.  Partially motorized options give the user of the chair more independent control to change the angle of tilt in space and their leg elevation as and when desired.  Fully motorized options give the user of the chair control to change the angle of tilt in space, their leg elevation and the back angle recline as and when desired.

The Atlanta is particularly helpful in patients who suffer involuntary movements and can be challenging to seat.  People with these symptoms may have an increased risk of falling out of their chairs because they forget that they are not as strong as they once were.  The seat depth, high arm rests and leg rests keep the individual safe, supported and snug within their chair.  If your patient or loved one is at high risk of falls you may find this blog on the subject helpful.

For those who have good skin with low pressure risk, and a degree of independent mobility, the Monaco provides lateral support and pressure management whilst maintaining the patient’s independence.

Bear in mind, each person is different and so you must use clinical judgement, knowledge of the patient, environmental considerations and personal preferences before deciding on which Seating Matters chair to use.