Alzheimer’s disease often affects a person’s sleeping habits. It may be hard to get the person to go to bed and stay there. Someone with Alzheimer’s may sleep a lot or not enough, and may wake up many times during the night.
Here are some tips that may help caregivers manage sleep problems in people with Alzheimer’s disease:
- Help the person get exercise each day, limit naps, and make sure the person gets enough rest at night. Being overly tired can increase late-afternoon and nighttime restlessness.
- Plan activities that use more energy early in the day. For example, try bathing in the morning or having the largest family meal in the middle of the day.
- Set a quiet, peaceful mood in the evening to help the person relax. Keep the lights low, try to reduce the noise levels, and play soothing music if he or she enjoys it.
- Try to have the person go to bed at the same time each night. A bedtime routine, such as reading out loud, also may help.
- Limit caffeine.
- Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.
Learn more about sleep and Alzheimer’s disease on the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral website.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may not see, smell, touch, hear and/or taste things as they used to. Make life safer around the house by:
- Checking foods in the refrigerator often. Throw out anything that has gone bad.
- Put away or lock up things like toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, rubbing alcohol, soap, or perfume. They may look and smell like food to a person with Alzheimer’s.
- If the person wears a hearing aid, check the batteries and settings often.
Remember to re-evaluate the safety of the person’s home as behavior and abilities change.
Learn more about home safety for people with Alzheimer’s.
Check out these 5 tips to make communication easier between you and a person with Alzheimer’s:
- Make eye contact and call the person by name
- Be aware of your tone, how loud your voice is, how you look at the person, and your body language
- Encourage two-way conversation for as long as possible
- Use other methods besides speaking, such as gentle touching
- Try distracting the person if communication creates problems
Visit the ADEAR website to learn more about the changes in communication that may accompany Alzheimer’s disease.
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. Make it safe for a person with Alzheimer’s with these tips:
• Install childproof door latches on storage cabinets and drawers designated for breakable or dangerous items. Lock away all household cleaning products, matches, knives, scissors, blades, small appliances, and anything valuable.
• Install safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove.
• Remove artificial fruits and vegetables or food-shaped kitchen magnets, which might appear to be edible.
• Insert a drain trap in the kitchen sink to catch anything that may otherwise become lost or clog the plumbing.
Learn more about making a home safe for a person with Alzheimer’s.
Help a person with Alzheimer’s disease eat well:
- Buy healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products. Be sure to buy foods that the person likes and can eat.
- Give the person choices about what to eat—for example, “Would you like green beans or salad?”
- Buy food that is easy to prepare, such as pre-made salads and single food portions.
- Give the person plenty of time to finish his or her meal.
- Serve meals in a consistent, familiar place and way whenever possible.
View these tips to get more information on encouraging healthy eating for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
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Exercise helps keep their muscles, joints, and heart in good shape, while also helping maintain a healthy weight and promote good sleep.
Being active and getting exercise helps people with Alzheimer’s disease feel better.
Here are some tips to get started:
• Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several 10-minute “mini-workouts” may be best.
• Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s disease has an ID bracelet with your phone number if he or she walks alone.
• Break exercises into simple, easy-to-follow steps.
• Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
Read this tip sheet to learn more about exercise and physical activity for people with Alzheimer’s disease.