People who are living with Alzheimer’s are vulnerable because, over time they have experienced various cognitive changes, so consistency is paramount in everything they do.
When assigning caregivers to Alzheimer’s clients, the aim is to focus on building a relationship of trust and bond between them, thus building a foundation on which they can both work together in unison as a team, to accomplish the assigned ADLs. (activities of Daily Living)
Changing a client’s caregiver frequently can be extremely confusing and trying. This means that the client must readjust, notwithstanding the difficulty of readjusting, this can cause the client to clam up in frustration and refuse to communicate or accept care.
Change of faces is a change in their social environment, having a stranger or multiple strangers going and coming in their home may feel like an intrusion for them. How can they wrap their minds around figuring out, “who is this now?” They may not always used to welcome strangers in their private spaces before. “What’s happening? I’m so confused!”
“Who are you?” This phrase is frequently used by clients in search of clarity. They may want to know if they must exhort extra energy to accommodate of socialize with another new person. They may also have already bonded with a previous caregiver, and find it completely devastating to lose her or him.
The goal is to allow one permanent caregiver/attendant to attend for as long as possible, just so the client won’t have to re-establish a new bond.
Every caregiver/attendant carries a new and different energy, and the client must process and accept or reject that energy. Therefore, it is imperative that caregivers/attendants be assigned permanently to each client.
Inconsistency causes confusion and dissatisfaction, as the client must process each task step by step, slowly and methodically.
An example is; for some client, the process of walking is complicated. He or she must process which foot to pick up first as well as in which direction to put it. It is confusing! inconsistency influences a lack of cooperation.
Alzheimer’s clients do analyze, organize and interpret the spoken word or command slower than normal, so it is always a mental relief for them to hear a familiar voice. They may also get used to the pitch and sound of the previous caregiver’s voice. A change in voice pattern may unalter their behavior.
Consistency can only reinforce great quality of life, build and foster trust, loyalty and love between the clients and the caregiver whom they come to name a friend.