Do you know someone who’s constantly having issues with their memory and behavior? If so, what are the measures you ought to take to help them know about their condition? If you’ve been noticing several red flags in one’s overt behavior and overall cognitive functioning, there’s a possibility that the person might be suffering from the early signs of dementia.
While you may not be able to tell the difference unless you have them checked by a doctor, it’s best to know what this condition is and how you can help someone get through it. For starters, you may consider taking online classes regarding dementia training and gain adequate knowledge about how to assist someone suffering from it.
Besides that, you can continue reading this article for better information.
What Is Dementia?
Intrinsically, dementia is a type of cognitive dysfunction that could greatly affect one’s cognitive functioning and mental abilities such as reasoning, learning, thinking, problem-solving, memory, retention, decision making, and attention span. It’s also known as one of the most common forms of cognitive decline that many people may experience, especially those in their declining years.
While dementia is most prevalent among people aged 65 and more, there are also people under the age group of 30-50 that could suffer from this condition due to certain factors. As it was primarily referred to as the progressive brain syndrome that could influence one’s memory, thinking, and emotions, people suffering from dementia might experience dramatic changes in their cognitive functioning and a decline in their mental capacities.
Some of the most common symptoms of dementia may include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Difficulty in carrying out daily tasks
- Struggling to follow a conversation
- Unstable mood
- Being confused with time and space
Apart from that, you must know dementia not only increases the likelihood of disabilities and health complications but also affects a person’s normal functioning. When it comes to dealing with dementia, it’s important to note that there’s no exact cure for this condition. On the other hand, one may consider utilizing certain alternatives and medications to slow down the progression of the disease and maintain their mental health.
Dementia Care Tips
In most cases, people suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive dysfunctions tend to be oblivious of their current condition. It’s due to the dementia episodes one may experience, which often leads to them being clueless about their behavior during such times.
If you’re in charge of looking after an elderly patient who’s suffering from dementia, it could be extremely difficult on your part to help them get through their condition. Not only would you attend to their needs but also ensure that they’re getting the appropriate care they deserve. When you feel like asking for help, you can consider hiring in-home care service providers and other medical experts who can help you with your concerns.
Besides that, here’s a list of the things you can do to help someone struggling with dementia:
1. Encourage Them To Engage In Physical Activities
Doing regular exercises and engaging in physical activities are some of the most efficient and fastest ways to help keep one’s body fit and healthy. Aside from bolstering one’s physical health, it could also improve one’s mental health and enhance the production of dopamine, which is responsible for one’s pleasure senses and reward system.
You may also consider doing the following:
- Aside from encouraging your loved ones to engage in physical activities, you may also consider involving them in your daily routines as long as they could handle them. For instance, you may teach them the basic things that they do before like watering plants, tying their shoelaces, folding their clothes, and putting clothes in the hamper.
- Make them try new things that could boost their senses and correct their normal functioning. Specifically, you may encourage them to try singing, brisk walking, dancing, storytelling, painting, and gardening. Through these activities, you can stimulate their senses.
- Help them spend time outdoors and bond with other people. For people with dementia, it’d be of great help if they can feel the love and support of their family to help them pursue recovery. Certain activities like visiting a park, taking a walk, or going for a drive could be beneficial for these people.
2. Sign Them Up In An Adult Day Care Programs
In some cases, people suffering from dementia and other cognitive dysfunctions are encouraged to sign up for adult day care programs that could help them in many ways. For instance, you can bring your loved ones here for them to be fed, cared for, and provided with activities that could help stimulate their mental capacity.
Although you might have second thoughts about it, know that the main facilitators in such projects are caregivers and medical practitioners with vast knowledge about dementia care. In a way, you might even learn a thing or two about the proper measures to take to efficiently help your loved one cope with their condition.
One of the many good things about these programs is they could pave the way for assistance opportunities for patients and help them connect with other people who can understand them. It could also help keep your loved ones occupied and busy during their free time.
3. Hire In-Home Caregivers
While you may take the sole responsibility of looking after your loved one’s welfare and providing for their needs, you might have a hard time carrying out your duties, especially with the limited knowledge you have about proper dementia care. To prevent endangering your loved one’s health, it might be better to seek medical help and assistance from in-home caregivers as they could help improve the patient’s condition.
If you’re having difficulties managing your loved one’s condition, then that might be the right time to ask for extra help from professionals. Particularly, you can consider contacting certain various service providers, physicians, and in-home caregivers that could help resolve your concerns. These people may also help formulate the right treatment option for your loved one that's suitable for their needs and overall condition. Additionally, you might want to consider hiring assisted living facilities and hospices for better services.
4. Maximize Available Resources
When it comes to dealing with dementia, there’s no denying the number of alternatives and options one can consider. While this could sound financially straining on your part, you can gain numerous advantages in maximizing online resources and available technological advances. Particularly, you can browse through reliable resources for medical advice, training, and assistance.
5. Ease Their Confusion And Frustration
Patients who are suffering from dementia, especially elderly ones, are more likely to deal with anxiety and depression due to their condition. The inability to do the things they normally do and the consequences of dementia episodes are some of the challenges that could significantly affect their good disposition and make them feel frustrated.
To better ease their frustration and help improve their emotions, you can consider the following:
- When it comes to lessening the burden on your loved one’s shoulder due to their condition, one of the primary aspects you must not forget includes allowing them to have a sense of independence and freedom to do the things they normally did before. Particularly, you can help them do some spontaneous activities to obtain a sense of normalcy.
- Allow them to have short breaks every activity to give respite to their bodies.
- Help them establish a sense of independence by allowing them to do things on their own. This could significantly help them feel like they’re normal despite their condition. As much as possible, encourage them to take initiative and accomplish tasks with little assistance.
- Provide comprehensible and coherent instructions that they could follow. For instance, you can teach these people the basics of doing household chores or simple tasks that could help trigger and prompt their initial knowledge.
6. Consider Their Decision
Considering your loved one’s decision might also be of great help in helping them develop a stronger personality even with their condition. But first, you must let them know that having dementia doesn’t make them less of a person and that they can still function like a normal person.
Apart from that, you must practice flexibility in your schedule to better monitor their condition and ensure their safety all the time.
7. Foster A Healthy And Safe Environment
Some of the most common consequences of suffering from dementia include cognitive impairments and difficulty in problem-solving skills. Such instances also increase the possibility of injuries and accidents for the patient.
To better create a safe environment for them and promote their safety, consider the following:
As much as possible, you must prevent any risk of slip and fall by removing any scattered rugs, cords, and other clutter. Besides that, you may also install hand grills or grab bars in some areas that they usually reside.
You need to install locks on rooms that contain any harmful substance or materials like guns, medicine, alcohol, toxic cleaning products, and hazardous tools.
You should also closely monitor their activities and make sure they won’t hurt themselves by performing certain tasks. For instance, you can check the water temperature before they take a bath to prevent any threats of burns.
It’s never easy dealing with dementia, let alone seeing your loved one suffer from it. While helping your family member get through their condition might seem difficult to handle, know that there are now various alternatives you can consider to obtain your objectives.
You can seek help from professionals, physicians, in-home caregivers, and assisted living facilities. You may also consider educating yourself about the proper dementia care to better help your loved one. Through the aforementioned considerations and tips, helping your loved ones cope with their condition can be much easier.
Author: Rosalyn Miller
Rosalyn Miller has been a registered dementia care specialist for almost 15 years. She mainly focuses on assisting patients to become more aware of their condition and help them get through their illnesses. She also helps people treat symptoms of dementia through specialized care plans. During her free time, she loves to take care of her plants and read novels.