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Alzheimer's Awareness with Bruce Piazza

November is the month where Alzheimer’s Awareness is prevalent, and it is in this light that some of our Registered Mental Health Nurses have provided some valuable wisdom about caregiving for those who have this condition. They’ve also included some tips about how to care for the caregiver. Here is what Bruce Piazza has to say.
How long have you been an RMN?
42 Years.
Do you have experience helping those with Alzheimer’s?
In which setting have you helped them?
Across nursing homes, at-home care, and in the hospital.
What skills are necessary to help care for Alzheimer’s patients?
Acceptance, knowledge, patience, and love.
Do you find any particular resources helpful when caring for Alzheimer’s patients?
A calm and engaged manner with good eye contact.
What kind of questions do you find are helpful to ask Alzheimer’s patients?
Ask them questions such as ‘Where were you born?’, ‘What did your mother and father do?’, and ‘Have you had any pets?’.
What kind of questions or statements do you feel should be avoided when speaking to an Alzheimer’s patient?
Avoid any questions or statements dealing with death, loss, and grief.
Are there any techniques that you use to help soothe an Alzheimer’s patient when they’re struggling?
A calm reassuring manner, good eye contact, distraction, and medication.
How do you deal with the emotional and physical stress that you experience as a caregiver?
Listen to music, read a book, or go for a walk.
What advice can you give new caregivers who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s?
Take care of the caregiver.
Do you have any other insight that you could provide about caring for an Alzheimer’s patient?
Anger and agitation occur frequently.  Medicate these folks appropriately and judiciously.  Patience, understanding, and love prevail.
Thank you, Bruce, for your valuable insight! We certainly hope that this can help those who are in need of learning more about caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
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