November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. If you’re caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s you may be overwhelmed by trying to process all the changes in your senior loved one. There’s a lot of information to learn and a lot of changes to process.
One of the toughest things for family caregivers is learning to pay attention to body language and other signs because your senior loved one may no longer be able to tell you when they are hungry, thirsty, or tired. If your senior loved one has a personal care at home provider, you can work with them to learn more about the small signals that your senior uses to let you know how they are feeling. Some of the things that your senior loved one may do that indicate they are tired or fatigues are:
Rubbing Their Eyes
Do you rub your eyes when you’re sleepy? Or does your child? Your senior loved one may do it too. Red, tired eyes are a very good indication that your senior loved one could use a nap or that it’s time for them to go to bed. If they are rubbing their eyes and don’t have any existing eye or vision problems then they are probably getting tired.
Irritability is another sure sign of tiredness and fatigue. You may notice that your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s tends to get irritable in the late afternoon or early evening. That’s usually because they are tired. If you are at the doctor’s office or out doing something and your senior loved one starts to get irritable you may want to take a break, find somewhere quiet to sit, give them a snack and a drink, and let them regroup before continuing whatever activity you were doing.
Having Trouble Speaking Or Communicating
If your senior loved one normally is pretty communicative but you notice that they start to slur their words or have trouble completing a sentence they may just be tired. It can be very taxing for someone with dementia to try and function throughout the day. When they are tired they may find that they have trouble communicating as the energy they use to communicate gets diverted to other things like walking or staying awake.
Struggling With Coordination
Your senior parent with Alzheimer’s may also have trouble with coordination if they are tired. You could notice that they seem to be having trouble grasping a cup or a fork, or that they seem less coordinated than usual when they are walking. If you notice that they are shuffling or having trouble walking make sure that you remove any potential tripping hazards from their path. Then invite them to sit down or lie down and take a little rest. If they are struggling with coordination when you are out in public find a place where they can sit and rest for a moment.