Bedrest Basics for Friends and Family
Last updated: February 2023
If you have a loved one who is in the final stages of Alzheimer's and on bed rest, there are some basics you need to know.
What does bed rest mean? What can you do to help them out during this time? How do you stick to a routine while on bed rest? Read on for answers to these questions and more. Knowing what to expect can help make this experience a little easier for everyone involved.
What does bed rest mean?
Bed rest may mean different things to different people, but in the context of Alzheimer's, it generally means the final stages of the illness.
Most people with Alzheimer's will eventually require some level of bed rest as they lose the ability to care for themselves. In the later stages of the disease, a loved one can become completely bedridden and may even lose their ability to communicate.
This is a difficult time for both your loved one and our caregivers. It's important to seek support from friends or family members during this time. There are also many resources available here or through local community organizations.
Resources that can help caregivers provide information on comfort care and supplies for someone in the final stages of Alzheimer's.
What can you do to help them out during this time?
The final stages of Alzheimer's can be difficult for both the person with the disease and their loved ones. Typically, at this stage, the person with Alzheimer's requires complete bed rest and close supervision.
Here are a few things you can do to help make this time a little easier:
- Make sure the person is comfortable and has everything they need within reach: A soft blanket, a fidget pillow, or a book.
- Keep communication as positive as possible: Talk to your loved ones about things they enjoy or memories from the past. Avoid bringing up stressful topics or discussions.
- Provide a calm and safe environment: Keep things simple by avoiding loud noises, sudden movements, and speaking in soft tones.
What can you do to stick to a routine while on bed rest?
When it comes to caring for our loved ones with Alzheimer's, routine is always important. In the final stages of this disease maintaining some sort of regular schedule can help ease your loved one's discomfort and make them feel more comfortable overall.
Here are a few things caregivers can do to provide the following daily:
- Gentle range of motion exercises
- Daily grooming (sponge toothbrush)
- Feeding or encouragement to eat (glucerna / ensure)
- Assistance in using the bathroom (diapers / incontinent pads)
It's also very important that you speak with your doctor about any concerns or activities you engage with and have during this time.
Making the experience a little easier
Watching a loved one go through the final stages of Alzheimer's can be a heart-wrenching experience. Regardless of whether total bed rest is required, there are things you can do to help make the experience a little easier for both them and yourself.
We hope these bed rest basics help you through this final stage. Would you like to talk to others in the Alzheimer's community about the end stages of Alzheimer's and managing bed rest? Reach out in our forums.
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