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With improvements in healthcare treatments and medications, we are living longer than ever before. While this is marvelous, it also comes with some consequences. Those consequences are multiple diseases as the organs of the body age and become less functional. Alzheimer’s disease is dysfunction of the brain and is seen with increasing incidence as we age. There are several conditions in the brain which lead to the hallmark memory loss of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent. There is no cure. It is a chronic, progressive disease whose complications often lead to death of the sufferer. Alzheimer’s disease is described in stages from one (1) to three (3). Patients display a series of symptoms as they move from stage to stage. However, in the caregiving world when working with these patients individualized, tailored interventions are more important than the stage of the disease. Each person moves through the stages at different rates and will display symptoms unique to them. The sage caregiver recognizes the symptoms and manages care around the symptoms to optimize quality of life for the senior. Even though memory is no longer intact, individual personality characteristics are not lost. Being able to know who the person was before experiencing Alzheimer’s disease is of the utmost importance. The person with Alzheimer’s cannot live in your world so you need to find ways to keep them safe in their world. Support and safety are the keys to quality of life for the person with Alzheimer’s. Even though they may demonstrate behavior that is child like, they are not children. They have decades of life experience and their autonomy and independence must be honored. Family members, co-workers and close friends are the best resources for caregivers to question. They can tell the caregiver about likes, dislikes, personality characteristics and experiences. Longer term memories are still available and using those memories helps the patient feel safe and secure.

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