How Can I Support Someone With Dementia Towards The End Of Life
Knowing the person will make it easier to provide person-centred care that is focused on what they need and want. It can help to know about their likes, dislikes and their wishes for how they want to be cared for. If the person isnt able to tell you about themselves, speak to their family, friends or other people who know them well.
Its a good idea to find out if the person has a copy of This is me , a document that records information about themselves. If you cant speak to the person, ask those close to them if they have a copy. They may have these details recorded in their care plan.
There are many ways to support someone with dementia at the end of life.
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Keeping Seniors Active: How To Care For Ageing Parents
As people age, its inevitable that they begin to slow down, but this shouldnt mean they cease to be active. Keeping fit and healthy in old age is important, for both physical health and emotional wellbeing, and finding ways to keep your loved ones active is a positive step in caring for them. Staying active can help preserve a sense of independence too, as well as helping to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression or dementia all conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Prepare For The Future
Discuss decisions about health and finances as soon as possible to ensure you have a say and are prepared for the future.
Preparing for the future may be the last thing you want to think about. But it will be easier to think about health and finances now rather than later to make sure you have a say in future decisions.
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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is progressive with no cure or effective drug treatment. But progression can be slowed down by reducing the risk and treating comorbidities. Medications can manage cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and triglycerides that can affect blood flow to the brain. The symptoms of dementia can be treated with treatments like cholinesterase inhibitors.
Lifestyle changes can significantly affect the overall health of an individual with regular exercise and a healthy diet along with quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation. In some cases, surgical procedures can improve blood flow to the brain, such as a stent, angioplasty, or carotid endarterectomy.
If your loved one with vascular dementia or any form of dementia needs assistance, visit one of our local Aegis Living communities to speak with our expert caregivers. A memory care community can keep your loved one active, engaged, and thriving.
Tips For Traveling By Air With A Person With Dementia
1. Get to the airport well in advance of your flight time.
This allows you to complete all the pre-boarding steps in plenty of time and then relax in a quiet place, such as a coffee lounge. However, do not arrive so early that the person with dementia runs the risk of becoming anxious or disoriented. One suggestion from a companion was to arrive 1 to 2 hours early for a domestic flight, and 3 to 4 hours early for an international flight.
If you are able to, visit the airport before the day of your flight and familiarize yourself with where you will need to go on your way to the gate
2. Notify airport staff that you are traveling with a person with dementia.
They may be able to assist you getting through the security checkpoints or provide a wheelchair if needed. Sometimes a wheelchair can be helpful even if the person with dementia is able to walk as it identifies the traveler as someone in need of assistance. However, this strategy is only useful if the person with dementia accepts use of a wheelchair.
If you notify the airline, you can board the airplane first along with other people with special needs. Most airports have teams of volunteers to help passengers find their way around. If you notify them in advance, they should be able to assist you when you arrive. Check the airport’s website for details.
3. Minimize hand luggage
You may need to keep “in touch”, literally, with the person with dementia. It makes it so much easier if you have fewer bags to manage.
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Things Not To Say To Someone With Dementia
Speaking to an elderly loved one with dementia can be difficult and emotionally draining. Alzheimers and dementia can lead to conversations that dont make sense, are inappropriate or uncomfortable, and may upset a family caregiver. However, over time, its important to adapt to the seniors behavior, and understand that their condition doesnt change who they are.
For senior caregivers, its important to always respond with patience. Here are some things to remember not to say to someone with dementia, and what you can say instead.
1. Youre wrong
For experienced caregivers, this one may seem evident. However, for someone who hasnt dealt with loss of cognitive function before, it can be hard to go along with something a loved one says that clearly isnt true. Theres no benefit to arguing, though, and its best to avoid upsetting a senior with dementia, who is already in a vulnerable emotional state due to confusion.
Instead, change the subject.
Its best to distract, not disagree. If an elderly loved one makes a wrong comment, dont try to fight them on it just change the subject and talk about something else ideally, something pleasant, to change their focus. There are plenty of things not to say to someone with dementia, but if theres one to remember, its anything that sounds like youre wrong.
2. Do you remember?
Instead, say: I remember
3. They passed away.
4. I told you
Instead, repeat what you said.
Tips For Living Alone With Early
On this page:
Learn about ways to cope with changes, prepare for the future, and stay active.
Have you been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, or a frontotemporal disorder and live alone? Or, do you have mild cognitive impairment ? If so, these tips are for you.
These tips offer ways to help you cope with changes in memory and thinking, prepare for the future, and stay active.
Use the table of contents at the top of this page to go to different sections. At the end of each section, click on the Back to top link to return to the table of contents.
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Find Out As Much As Possible
Your friend or family member is going to need more care as their condition gets worse, which may fall to you. Becoming a carer is not something most people feel prepared for. So you need to find out as much as you can at the start.
Talk to their doctor and make sure you understand your friend or family members condition and how its likely to change. Ask your GP and local council about the support you can get. If you work, speak to your employer to see what help they can offer you. Find out about the benefits you may be able to receive if youre not working or if you have to stop.
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Experiences Once On Board
Most people reported that cabin crew offered outstanding service and were sensitive to their needs. The most difficult thing once on board was that the restrooms were not able to accommodate two people, which made it difficult for the companion to assist. One third of companions said the person with dementia experienced anxiety during the flight. They had a range of strategies they used, such as bringing along high quality noise canceling headphones and distracting them with conversation or their favorite snacks. Overall, people were positive about their experiences on board.
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Are They Starving Or Dehydrating To Death
It may seem that the person is being starved or dehydrated to death, but they are not. In the end stages of dementia , the persons food and fluid intake tends to decrease slowly over time. The body adjusts to this slowing down process and the reduced intake. It is thought that by this stage the hunger and thirst part of the brain has now stopped functioning for most people.
The person may be immobile and so does not need the same amount of calories to sustain their energy levels. Having reduced food and fluid intake and decreased interest in this can be thought of as a natural part of end of life and dying.
Giving increased food and fluids artificially can be helpful for some other health conditions, but it is usually not considered to be helpful at the end of life in dementia as a way of managing reduced oral intake.
Symptoms And Disease Course
Symptoms differ depending on what part and how much of the brain is affected, and can overlap with those of other types of dementia. Symptoms are likely to be more gradual and less dramatic in multi-infarct than in post-stroke dementia. For example, in multi-infarct dementia a gradual decline in some aspects of speech and language may be noticed, whereas immediately following a stroke there can be a sudden change in speech.
Vascular dementia does generally progress, but the speed and pattern of cognitive decline, motor skills slowing, and mood changes can vary. Some individuals may experience memory loss, whereas others may exhibit changes primarily in mood and behavior.
Like all dementias, individuals in later stages will show overall cognitive changes and will depend on others for care. Symptoms common in both post-stroke and multi-infarct type dementia can include:
- confusion and difficulty problem-solving
- changes in mood including loss of interest in regular activities
- trouble finding the right word
- motor symptoms including clumsiness and slow or unsteady gait disturbance.
Family caregivers may find it difficult to know how to provide help when symptoms are so variable. Getting a definitive diagnosis will make it easier to provide care now and in the future.
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Adjust To Changing Abilities
As the disease progresses, identify the abilities she still has, break down complex tasks and decisions into more easily managed options, and respect her choices.
- Reduce the number of options at any one time. For example, ask, “Would you like to have your bath now or later?” rather than, “When do you want a bath?”
- Give step-by-step guidance by asking about one thing at a time and only going on to the next question after each one is answered. “Would you like to go for a walk now?” Then, “Would you like to wear your blue or red sweater?” And then, “Shall we go to the garden or park?”
- Learn to recognize and be sensitive to the meaning behind facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. Someone with dementia can communicate meaning to anyone who learns to read the emotional signals conveyed.
Difficult Feelings May Lead A Person To Withdraw
Withdrawing from other people can be a way of dealing with difficult emotions such as anger, sadness or fear. These sorts of feelings can be triggered by negative experiences, such as being undermined or patronised. If we identify and then avoid the triggers to a persons difficult feelings, the person may well become more engaged with others around them.
Withdrawal may be a sign that someone is depressed. Depression affects many people with dementia. Often it can be tackled successfully through counselling support, medication or a combination of the two.
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What Is The Difference Between Vascular Dementia And Other Forms Of Dementia
A common difference between some forms of dementia and vascular disease is the stages and progression of the disease. Most forms of dementia follow seven stages of progressionmoving from mild and early stages through middle stages and then late stages. Vascular dementia can happen suddenly after a stroke or interruption in blood flow to the brain, and many peoples symptoms stabilize for more extended periods before progressing.
Prevention may be the key difference between vascular dementia and other forms of dementia because vascular dementia is often linked to a stroke or damaged brain tissue. The cause of many types of dementia is largely unknown. But in the case of vascular dementia, precautionary steps can be taken to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, lowering ones blood pressure, and reducing stress can all be helpful preventative measures.
When Might They Need To Move
A person living with dementia has a right to live on their own if they want to. This right can only be questioned, and possibly withdrawn, if there is evidence to suggest that they are a danger to themselves or to others and need to be looked after or sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Many people who do move into care homes only do so after a stay in hospital, during which it becomes increasingly clear that they cant manage on their own anymore.
But with the right care and support and a bit of luck it might be possible for your loved one to continue living in and enjoying their own home for the rest of their life, or perhaps just a little longer than you might have thought.
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A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage
Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.
Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.
For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.
Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.
Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.
When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.
Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.
Keep Your Mind And Body Healthy
Staying active has proven health benefits and may help ease dementia symptoms.
Being physically active, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and spending time with family and friends offer proven benefits. They may also help slow the symptoms of Alzheimers disease and related dementias.
- Exercise. You dont have to join a gym or spend a lot of money. Even light housework, gardening, and walking around the neighborhood can have benefits. Experts recommend both aerobic exercise and strength training . Learn more about exercise and physical activity.
- Eat right. A healthy diet is proven to influence heart health, which relates to brain health. Learn more about healthy eating.
- Sleep well. Lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep are linked to memory problems. Try to get 7 to 8 hours per night.
- Be mindful. One way to help manage stress and reduce anxiety and depression is a technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is being aware of whats happening in the present, both inside and outside of your body. This web page and handout offer overviews of mindfulness in daily living.
- Stay social. People with dementia who live alone dont manage daily activities as well when they feel lonely. Join a support group, chat with someone regularly, or volunteer at a local school or community organization. For example, you could read to children at the library. For more ideas, visit Participating in Activities You Enjoy.
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Living Alone When You Have Dementia
Youre bound to worry about a loved one living on their own if they have dementia. But there are lots of ways to help them stay as safe and happy as possible
Being diagnosed with dementia doesnt mean you have to give up your independence. In fact, it might be far better for your loved one to live in their own home for as long as possible. A home environment will feel safe and familiar to them, and theyll know how to work the washing machine and cooker because theyve been doing it for decades. Suddenly uprooting them to come and live with you, or move into a care home could be far more distressing, and harder for them to manage, than staying where they are.
Did you know?85 per cent of people would want to stay living at home for as long as possible if diagnosed with dementia. Yet a third of the general public wouldnt know where to find information about how to make their home suitable.
But you probably still cant help worrying about them and wondering
What Causes Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by different conditions that interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen supply to the brain and damage blood vessels in the brain.
People with vascular dementia almost always have abnormalities in the brain that can be seen on MRI scans. These abnormalities can include evidence of prior strokes, which are often small and sometimes without noticeable symptoms. Major strokes can also increase the risk for dementia, but not everyone who has had a stroke will develop dementia.
Other abnormalities commonly found in the brains of people with vascular dementia are diseased small blood vessels and changes in “white matter” the connecting “wires” of the brain that are critical for relaying messages between brain regions.
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