Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.
Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.
Feelings After A Diagnosis And As Dementia Progresses
After someone is diagnosed with dementia and as it progresses, they and the people close to them may have many different, conflicting feelings.;
When someone;you know has dementia, you may have feelings of grief and loss, such as anger, denial or helplessness. It can help to talk about these feelings when you feel ready. You could talk to a friend, family member, or a professional such as a counsellor or psychotherapist.
Signs That A Person With Dementia Might Be In Pain
Changes in the way the person is reacting might be possible signs of pain, for instance:
- behaviour, such as fidgeting, restlessness, or reacting with fear or distress during personal care such as washing or dressing
- speech, such as calling out, groaning or shouting
- sleep, such as sleeping more or less than usual
- body language, such as appearing panicked, bracing or guarding, or repetitive movements, such as rubbing or twitching
- facial expressions, such as grimacing, tensing or frowning
- mood, such as withdrawal or uncharacteristic quietness, low mood
- physical state, such as change in temperature, increased pulse, sweating, flushing or appearing pale
- appetite, such as refusing food
If you are looking after a person with dementia, then you might know the person best. If you can, think back to a time before their diagnosis or in their earlier life when you knew they were in pain. How did they react then? Does that help you consider their behaviour now?
Asking someone if they are in pain is the best way to find out, but as the persons dementia progresses, they may be less likely to tell you they are in pain. They may not be able to describe where the pain is coming from, and may say no; if you ask even if this is not true.
You May Like: How Does Alzheimer’s Affect Family And Friends
When Someone Doesnt Understand Something Is Wrong
There are cases where people dont recognize anything is wrong.; You may hear this referred to as anosognosia which is thought to be the result of cell damage in the right pre-frontal lobes and the parietal lobes.; This can happen during a stroke or as cells decline due to Alzheimers and dementia.
Caregivers and family members may notice obvious changes in someones behavior, physical or mental limitations while their loved one remains adamant everything is fine. Anosognosia isnt denial, it is a medical condition.
Caring for anyone living in cognitive decline is challenging. Caring for someone who doesnt recognize they are ill can add to that challenge. They may refuse to take medications because they dont think they need them, or become angry when told they cant stay home alone or drive to the store anymore.
Convincing someone there is a problem wont make them believe you, so try to avoid arguing.; It doesnt help them understand the situation, and can also lead to agitation, distrust and fear all common side effects of Alzheimers and dementia.
Read tips from The Memory Center on how to communicate with someone living with cognitive decline and how to keep them safe.
Tips For When Someone With Dementia Doesnt Feel At Home:
- Enter their world and ask the person with dementia about the topic or memories they mention
- Try not to challenge or correct the person in their confusion; this can often lead to distress
- Alleviate the situation by providing a drink, or a hug, or even going along with their version of events
- Focus on the underlying emotion behind the person with dementias requests and respond accordingly
- Look at Dementia UKs resources on developing a Life Story to help grasp a specific reality
Don’t Miss: Is Vascular Dementia A Terminal Illness
Being Quiet Or Quietly Being Forgotten
Most of us need some quiet time every so often. Some people are naturally quieter than others too and prefer to watch and listen rather than joining in.
While we need to respect peoples preferences, it is important to make sure that no one ends up being left out or forgotten. When someone is quiet, it doesnt necessarily mean that they are withdrawn, but we need to be observant of their mood and ensure there are opportunities for them to be more engaged if and when they would like to be.
We need to be careful not to assume that just because someone is being quiet and undemanding, then theyre OK. It can be easy to overlook the fact that the person has, in fact, become withdrawn. This is most likely to happen in a group care setting where other clients are being more assertive in making their needs known. A person who is withdrawn probably has unmet needs, and when no attempts are made to investigate the reasons for their withdrawal, it is likely that the state will persist and the person may become less and less engaged with the world around them.
Physical Reasons To Consider
If a person becomes withdrawn, it is important to consider whether this could be caused by physical changes. A person may withdraw because they are simply feeling unwell, in which case they need medical attention.
Medication may also cause a person to withdraw. Antipsychotics, in particular, have a profound effect on quality of life, leaving people with dementia heavily sedated and causing some serious side effects . If a person with dementia is taking antipsychotic medication, a doctor should review whether this is the best course of action as soon as possible. A 2009 Department of Health report estimated that 150,000 people with dementia in the UK are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs inappropriately and these are contributing to 1,800 deaths a year.
Recommended Reading: When Should You Get Tested For Alzheimer’s
Do Not Ignore Physical Abuse
As much as one needs to be tolerant, kind, forgiving, and patient with older adults who have dementia, it does not mean that they have to excuse the patients when they become physically aggressive and allow the abuse to continue. It is not to be accepted, and if it happens, it is best to alert your doctor who will work on the solution to make sure it stops. It will keep both the patient and caregiver in safety.
From physical manifestations to angry outbursts, taking care of an individual with dementia may not be easy. However, working with the tips above can help caregivers and loved ones to get through it. Remember that there are plenty of treatments, interventions and special care providers who can help; therefore, you should never be shy about getting help when you need it.
Supporting A Person With Dementia
The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition.
There are many other factors aside from the symptoms of dementia that play a huge role in shaping someone’s experience. These include the relationships the person has, their environment and the support they receive.
Personal relationships and someone’s social environment are central to life, regardless of age or mental ability. People can recognise this by being as supportive as possible. Carers, friends and family, can help a person with dementia to feel valued and included. Support should be sensitive to the person as an individual, and focus on promoting their wellbeing and meeting their needs.
When supporting a person with dementia, it can be helpful for carers to have an understanding of the impact the condition has on that person. This includes understanding how the person might think and feel, as these things will affect how they behave.
The person may be experiencing a world that is very different to that of the people around them. It will help if the carer offers support while trying to see things from the perspective of the person with dementia, as far as possible.
Each person is unique, with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. It is very important to focus on what the person still does have, not on what they may have lost. It is also important to focus on what the person feels rather than what they remember.
Recommended Reading: Does Diet Coke Cause Alzheimer’s
Early Warning Signs Of Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people worldwide have dementia and 10 million new cases are revealed every year. So by 2030 82 million people are expected to have some form of dementia. As these numbers continue to grow it is important to recognize the symptoms of dementia.
- Memory Loss
Thermoregulation As Therapy For People With Dementia
Because the study produced such promising results in mice, researchers are looking into testing the effects of thermoregulation on people living with dementia.
Dr. Calon says:
Our findings suggest that it is worth exploring the treatment of thermoregulation among seniors suffering from Alzheimers.
If our conclusions are confirmed, it would be a relatively easy therapeutic option to implement because body temperature can be increased through physical activity, diet, drugs or simply by increasing the ambient temperature, he stated.
Have you seen a correlation between body temperature and symptoms of the disease? What do you think about thermoregulation being linked to dementia? Share your stories with us in the comments below.
Also Check: How To Diagnose Alzheimer’s Early Onset
Provide Support For Family And Friends
Keep any family or friends informed about what is happening in a gentle, sensitive and supportive way. This will help reassure them that the person is getting the care they need. You could consider signposting them to appropriate services, such as an Admiral Nurse or local Alzheimers Society. It can also help to give them an opportunity to talk about what is happening.
Do Not Shy Away From Asking For Help
No one may have all the answers especially when it comes to taking care of a person with dementia. Try doing research on how their behavior changes and what needs to be done to help them live their lives without too many complications. Hire help when it becomes too much as it also ensures that you do not become too frustrated or drained. When you have multiple family members who can help, ask everyone to pitch in and look after the patient so that you can get some personal space to breathe and re-energize when it is your time to look after the patient. When you feel like you can no longer look after your loved one at your own home, it may be time to consider assisted living. In such case, look into dementia care homes that can provide specially trained professionals.
You May Like: What Happens To The Hippocampus In Alzheimer’s
Detecting Pain In Persons With Dementia
As dementia progresses, it can affect a persons language skills to the extent that they are not able to express when they are in pain.
Some affected persons may not even remember how they hurt themselves or the source of their pain which adds to the challenges of trying to communicate about their pain.
Caregivers should, therefore, know how to detect when a person is suffering from dementia and pain so that it can be treated as soon as possible.
Because persons with dementia will experience pain differently, at times it may be possible to ask directly whether a person is in pain.
This is where you shoot direct questions like does it hurt, are you in pain? Is it sore? and they will give you an answer.
However, when a person is not able to communicate how they are feeling, perhaps because they have advanced dementia, their behaviors might give you a clue when they are experiencing pain.
Some of the behaviors include social withdrawal or becoming increasingly agitated. Other non-verbal cues that a person may use to communicate that they are in pain or distress include:
Decreased Or Poor Judgement
This is different to: making a bad decision once in a while.
Changes in decision-making or judgement might include dealing with money or paying less attention to keeping clean and groomed. ;This can be one of the more obvious parts of your observation list for early signs of dementia.
Look out for signs that your parent might not be looking after themselves the way they used to.; They may forget to wash regularly, wear the same clothes continuously throughout the week, forget to brush their teeth, forget to brush their hair, shave or to visit the toilet.
Its vital to make sure your parent is keeping up with any regular appointments they may have. Make sure theyre keeping up with their health and hygiene routines with our guide to keeping healthy.
Don’t Miss: What To Do If You Have Alzheimer’s
Strengthening Self 1 Communion
Being treated and even feeling as a non-person reasonably means suffering. Therefore, it is important to help persons feel as persons with a sense of self. Research has shown that the Self 1 is preserved among persons with advanced dementia. Even when they almost entirely answer yes or no to questions, they still show that they can experience themselves as I . Still it seems reasonable to suggest that we can help persons preserve their feeling of being an I by making them feel that they are seen and listened to, that is that they are. This kind of behavior has often been labeled confirming actions and seems a type of communion.
Managing Pain For Individuals With Dementia
When you suspect that a person is going through dementia and pain, it is advisable to seek medical attention.
The health care workers are also in the best position to prescribe appropriate pain medication depending on the cause of pain.
Some of the drugs that doctors may prescribe include opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, laxatives, and analgesics.
There are also non-drug therapies that can help with dementia and pain.
Depending on doctors instructions they can be implemented alone or in combination with pain alleviating drugs.
Examples of therapies that can help include:
If a person needs to be on long-term pain management, you can always consult different professionals like tissue viability nurses, a general practitioner, physiotherapist, or a pain specialist team in your locality to get expert advice on effective pain management strategies.
You May Like: What Happens In The Later Stages Of Vascular Dementia
Putting Things In The Wrong Place
This is different to: more normal age-related behaviours such as losing things but being able to retrace the steps to find them.
Losing things or putting things in strange places, and then being unable to retrace steps to find them again, is on the official observation list for early signs of dementia.
Sometimes someone else might be accused of stealing which may occur more frequently over time. ;For example, your dad may insist that a friend keeps stealing his money, whereas its in its regular hiding place.
Other examples that may indicate potential dementia symptoms could include:
- Teabags in the fridge and leaving the milk out
- Toothbrush in the washing basket
- Remote control in the cutlery drawer
- Dirty laundry in the dishwasher
Misplacing or losing items is more common in Alzheimers Disease, rather than vascular dementia. Find out more about the different types of dementia.
If A Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With Alzheimers Or Dementia
If someone close to you has been diagnosed with dementia, youll be dealing with a host of difficult emotions. You may be grieving for your loved one, especially if significant memory loss is already present. Its important to allow timefor yourself and your loved oneto come to terms with the news. Encourage your loved one to open up about what theyre feeling and make yourself available whenever theyre ready to talk.
When talking to someone about their dementia diagnosis, dont resort to platitudes such as telling them to stay positive or comparing their situation to someone elses. Allow them to honestly express their emotions, even if its difficult to hear, or they become angry and upset. Remember, you dont have to provide answers, just a listening ear and a hug or a tender touch to let them know you care.
Learn about dementia. Understanding what to expect will help you plan for care and transitions and recognize your loved ones capabilities throughout each stage of the disease. Despite its many challenges, caregiving for a loved one can also be a deeply rewarding experience.
Involve your loved one in decision-making for as long as possible. In the early stages, support your loved ones independence and self-care, but be prepared for their cognitive and physical regression to ultimately require 24-hour care.
Also Check: Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Dementia
Caring For Someone With Dementia Towards The End Of Life
Please be aware – this;information is for healthcare professionals.;We also have;information for the public.;
You can use our My Learning form ; to reflect on how this page has helped with your continuing professional development.
People with dementia may experience problems with thinking, memory, behaviour and mobility. It can be difficult to recognise when someone with dementia is nearing the end of their life. You can support the person by communicating with them and helping them with any symptoms they have. If possible, its a good idea to plan the persons care in advance to help understand what they want from their care.
On this page: