Have you ever met people with dementia? How do they live their lives to the fullest, trying to be okay even if they are not? And that is because of the people who help them overcome it.
Dementia, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a syndrome due to brain cell damage that is most often chronic and progressive. Some impaired cortical functions include memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgment. Other manifestations of this disease are deterioration in emotional control, social behavior, or motivation. Dementia is not typically part of aging as it occurs most often in the older population. Fifteen percent of Americans over 65 have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Thus, as the average life span continues to increase, so will the number of those affected. There is hope for those affected as research continues. It is vital to raise awareness, encourage prevention, and be aware of the early signs and symptoms.
Caring for dementia involves a lot of understanding and patience. It should be dealt with flawlessness and audacity to ensure the vulnerable adults’ well-being. Aiding at home or care home requires carers to be at their best, emotionally and physically. The responsibility can be overwhelming, but it is also rewarding since helping dementia adults in their day-to-day activities is a significant matter for them.
Caring for a loved one with dementia isn’t just one person’s job for many families. It is the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. Relatively, Jack Weaver’s book entitled Going…Going…The Abduction Of A Mind is relatable as it is a story of a husband and his wife with dementia. It is a journal of a couple’s 15-year journey along the trail of Alzheimer’s. If you allow Jack and Janey to become your guides, they will lead you through sunny valleys of hope, swamps of despair, and up mountains of happiness; you will stop at vistas of grief and relief, and you will laugh and cry together. Jack wrote about his wife, Janey’s dementia, their hope, and how they cope. It’s all in this book: their lives, love, and lies.
And so, no matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can sometimes be overwhelming. The following tips may help with routine tasks and maintenance.
Tips for Daily Care for People With Dementia
People suffering from dementia experience changes in thinking, remembering, and reasoning that affect daily life and activities. Eventually, people with this disease will need more help with simple, everyday tasks.
- Keep a routine, such as eating, bathing, and dressing at the same time each day. When bathing or dressing, allow the person to do as much as possible. Plan activities that your loved one enjoys and try to do them at the same time as well each day.
- Help the patient write to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar. This is to aid patients in not missing critical engagements.
- Create a system or a reminder to help those who must take medications regularly.
- Be gentle and respectful. Tell the person with dementia what you will do, step by step, while you help them do their routines.
- When serving meals, it must be in a familiar, consistent place and give the person enough time to eat.
Tips for Changes in Behavior and Communication for People With Dementia
Communication can be difficult for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia because they have problems remembering things. They also can become anxious and agitated, even mad. Their language abilities are affected such that they have difficulty speaking or problems finding the right words. To help make communication more manageable with your loved one, you can:
- Speak calmly to reassure the person. Listen to their concerns and frustrations. And try to show that you understand even if the person is angry or fearful.
- Allow them to keep as much control in their lives as possible.
- Their personal space is essential. Respect it.
- Build quiet times into the day and along with activities.
- Keep well-loved photographs and objects around the house to help the person feel more secure.
- Remind the person who you are if they don’t remember, but don’t say, “Don’t you remember me?”
- Encourage a 2-way conversation for as long as possible. This will establish a blight on them.
- Try distracting the person with an activity. This can be an ordinary book or photo album if you are having trouble communicating with words.
Hence, caring for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s needs love and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating. You might even feel angry, which could signify you are trying to take on too much. It is essential to find time to take care of yourself so that you can be practical and sympathetic.