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How To Care For A Family Member With Dementia

Dementia Elder Care Alternatives

How to Help a Family Member with Alzheimer’s or Dementia with Bathing

How do you manage an older adult who is experiencing dementia? Your parent’s symptoms and care requirements are almost certain to fluctuate with time. Caregiving for someone with dementia at home without assistance may become difficult or impossible in the latter stages. Whether you require a temporary break to focus on your own well-being or need more permanent assistance, choose the appropriate level of care for your loved one.

Give Each Other Space

As the disease progresses, rapidly swinging moods and angry, negative outbursts can take a great toll on caregivers, Johnston says. Plus, more than 90 percent of people with dementia develop behavioral symptoms or psychiatric problems at some point during their illness. Its perfectly OK to calmly say, I need to have some privacy, and leave the room to have a moment of peace, to allow both of you to calm down.

Take A Break From Caring

Taking regular breaks can help you to look after yourself and better support you in caring for someone with dementia.

Family and friends may be able to provide short breaks for you to have time “just for you”.

Other options include:

  • day centres social services or your local carers’ centre should provide details of these in your area
  • respite care this can be provided in your own home or for a short break in a care home

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What Is Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of a group of brain diseases called dementias. Alzheimers disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimers disease, like all dementias, gets worse over time and there is no known cure. Nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers disease destroys brain cells causing problems with memory, thinking, and behavior that can be severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies, and social life. Eventually, it can affect ones ability to carry out routine daily activities. Today, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 65 years and older.

For more information, see www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figuresexternal icon.

Be Aware Of New Changes Or Developments

How Can Palliative Care Help People with Dementia?

A third answer to, How can I help my mother or father with dementia? is to continually monitor their physical, mental, and emotional health.

As dementia progresses, it can lead to changes in:

  • Physical abilities
  • Mental capacity and the ability to recognize familiar places
  • Emotional changes

If youre already following the first two tips above, then youll be prepared for these changes and can quickly seek out medical advice and help.

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How Do Family Caregivers Care

Archbold’s concept of care providers and care managers is useful. Care providers provide hands-on care, dressing, assisting with finances and other daily activities, and care managers arrange for others to provide care, for example a nurse for personal care, an accountant to assist with finances. Spouses tend to be care providers, and adult children and other relatives, care managers. Care providers tend to be more stressed than care managers. Dementia is associated with long care hours and physicallydemanding caregiving. Many studies have found that caregivers of those with dementia have higher levels of burden than other caregivers.,, A 2003 survey of 227 US dementia caregivers found that nearly one quarter provided 40 hours of care or more per week . This included personal care such as bathing, feeding, and assisting with toileting for 65% of caregivers. Over two thirds of caregivers sustained this commitment for more than 1 year and one third for 5 or more years.

Get The Family Involved In Group Activities

People who have dementia often bear the brunt of loneliness. This is because they tend to isolate themselves by either keeping to themselves or shutting others out. Remember that mood swings result from dementia. Do your best to lighten the mood and boost the morale of your care recipient. Naturally, you may need a little help with this. Encourage your family members to engage in activities that everyone can enjoy, including those with dementia.

Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun, suggests Alzheimers.gov, People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.

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How Can Having A Family Member With Alzheimers Change Family Dynamics

Family dynamics will inevitably change when a family member has Alzheimers. It doesnt matter what your familial relationship is to the person with Alzheimers, as it can change in dramatic and sometimes disturbing ways.

One of the most difficult emotional consequences of Alzheimers is when your loved one does not recognize you any longer. Other challenging behaviors like aggression or wandering can be upsetting and stressful for the entire family. However, you and your family can cope by following our suggestions.

Expert Tips On How To Care For A Parent With Dementia

Family disagree with your caregiver decisions?

Most adult children with aging parents arent sure how to take care of an elderly parent with dementia. So if youre an adult child and you find yourself needing help caring for parents at home who are suffering from memory loss, youre not alone.

Caring for a family member with dementia at home can be both rewarding and challenging. Its rewarding because taking care of your mother or father allows you to spend quality time with them. However, dementia is a progressive disease and its symptoms get worse over time, leaving most family caregivers wondering what to do when a parent has dementia.

Fortunately, when it comes to looking after an aging parent with dementia, many elderly care resources are available for family caregivers.

Are you interested in learning more about how to care for a parent with dementia?

In this article, were providing expert elder care tips to help those caring for parents at home. As you read, youll get:

  • An answer to, How can I help my mother or father with dementia?
  • Information about how to cope with a parent with dementia
  • Recommendations for where to get in-home care for seniors with dementia

Join us for our valuable discussion about home care for elderly parents with dementia.

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Are You A Caregiver For Someone With Dementia Or Other Cognitive Impairment

U-First!® is an innovative education program for all members of the care team who are supporting people with behaviour changes due to dementia or other cognitive impairment. This includes health care providers in a direct care role and care partners . The U-First Framework is a person-centred approach to looking at the whole person.

This program, designed by the Alzheimer Society, is being offered by Robin Hull, Education Coordinator, Alzheimer Society Lanark Leeds Grenville. The program will be delivered in two, three-hour sessions on Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Carleton Place Public Library, and is offered for free.

All participants must register with Sidney Thomson, R.N. by phone at 343-262-0902 or email at by Tuesday, May 17 at 4 p.m. There is a maximum of 14 attendees for the program.

This training will help caregivers understand the person and associated behaviour changes, and how to work as a team to develop individualized support strategies.

The program will help you:

Home Hospice North Lanark offers Comfort, Compassion, Advocacy and Support in Our Community. If you would like more information about HHNL or need support, please visit .

How To Care For A Loved One With Dementia

Dementia refers to a wide range of conditions, such as Alzheimers disease, that alter brain function. Sufferers are known to endure memory loss as well as problems with speech, thoughts, and physical activity. As well, dementia is known to cause mood swings. Understandably, caregivers of people with dementia face uphill battles.

Because dementia can change a persons personality and behavior, its important to exhibit a lot of patience and understanding. Lets discuss a few key ways to care for a loved one with dementia adequately.

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Use Physical Clues And Cues

Though family members are not really mind readers, even if they sometimes believe they are, they do become experts in reading a relatives physical clues facial expressions, posture, glances to tell if that person is tired, frustrated or in pain. For many individuals with dementia, these telltale signs persist even after the capacities for attention, language and reasoning have fallen away. Whenever my stepfather grimaced, my mother winced and knew he was in discomfort. She could then take her educated guess about what was troubling him his old bum shoulder or a new bed sore on his bottom and take whatever steps she could to provide relief.

Likewise, it is physical cues that best convey meaning to an individual who no longer understands many words or is slow in initiating actions. My mother could say three times, Please pick up your foot, without being able to prompt my stepfather to place it on the wheelchair leg rest. But then she would tap his knee and hed instantly move his leg.

Tips For Home Safety For People With Dementia

How to Help a Parent with Dementia

As a caregiver or family member to a person with Alzheimers or related dementias, you can take steps to make the home a safer place. Removing hazards and adding safety features around the home can help give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely. Try these tips:

  • If you have stairs, make sure there is at least one handrail. Put carpet or safety grip strips on stairs, or mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape so they are more visible.
  • Insert safety plugs into unused electrical outlets and consider safety latches on cabinet doors.
  • Clear away unused items and remove small rugs, electrical cords, and other items the person may trip over.
  • Make sure all rooms and outdoor areas the person visits have good lighting.
  • Remove curtains and rugs with busy patterns that may confuse the person.
  • Remove or lock up cleaning and household products, such as paint thinner and matches.

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The Importance Of Health Care And Early Detection

A relationship with a geriatric physician is invaluable for dementia patients. Exams provide valuable information about memory loss. An early diagnosis also offers options for treatments and medications that can slow the diseases progression.

A dementia evaluation includes a physical exam, bloodwork and medication review. Doctors also conduct a mental health and cognitive evaluation. They gather family and previous health history.

Take Courses Or Read Guides

People can attend courses in person or do ones online that cover topics ranging from the early signs of Alzheimers to behavioral changes and financial planning.

People can find more information about caregiving by visiting the Alzheimers Association webpage or by reading this for caregivers from the National Institute on Aging .

These more comprehensive guides include step-by-step tips on how to help someone bathe, eat, and more.

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Try To Comprehend Your Parents Point Of View

Imagine one day you are living independently, and the next thing you know, youre being told you have dementia. Thats a scary scenario, but one felt by everyone who has been affected by dementia. When a patient or family member with dementia refuses to go into care, its important to put yourself in their shoes. This will help you understand why your family member is angry or nervous. No one wants their independence taken from them, so do your best to show empathy and understanding.

Things Not To Say To Someone With Dementia

How to Help a Family Member with Alzheimer’s or Dementia with Eating

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.

Instead

4. I told you

Instead, repeat what you said.

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Respite Care For Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can lead to serious mental and physical caregiver health risks. Respite care, also called short-term care, offers caregivers a well-deserved break. While your loved one receives respite care, you can spend time with other friends and family, focus on work, vacation, or focus on your own health and well-being.

Respite care offers help with ADLs and medication management in a safe environment. Many volunteer organizations, support groups, and area resources offer a form of dementia elderly care, which can last anywhere from several days to a month or more. Some senior living communities specializing in memory care also provide dementia-specific respite care. This can be a good way to try out a senior living community before making a permanent move.

Facing Dementia In The Family

When you or a loved one first receives adementiadiagnosis, you may feel a range of contradictory emotions, sometimessimultaneously. Many people undergo a period of profound grief, withfeelings of shock, denial and deep sadness. The prospect of facing thissignificant life change can make you feel demoralized, embarrassed orangry. You may even want to keep the diagnosis secret from friends or otherfamily members.

On the other hand, you may feel a sense of relief. Finally, your suspicionshave been validated, and you and your loved ones can seek out more supportand therapeutic interventions.

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Establish A Daily Routine

Because memory loss is such a common symptom of dementia, its important to create a routine. Each day should involve some planned repetition to help the dementia patient in your life recall their daily requirements. This involves the morning routine, of course. Making breakfast together might be a great way to indicate the beginning of each day. Mayo Clinic encourages caregivers to schedule wisely.

Some tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, are easier when the person is most alert and refreshed, says the site, Allow some flexibility for spontaneous activities or particularly difficult days.

Dementia Is More Than Memory Loss

Dementia Patients

Memory loss is a classic dementia symptom. But some types of dementia, particularly frontotemporal dementia and Picks disease, manifest themselves as personality changes rather than memory loss. The symptoms depend on the areas of the brain that is affected by the disease. Even when memory loss is the most apparent symptom, the person with dementia is experiencing a neurological decline that can lead to a host of other issues. A patient may develop difficult behaviors and moods. For example, a prim and proper grandmother may begin to curse like a sailor. Or a formally trusting gentleman may come to believe that his family is plotting against him or experience other delusions and hallucinations. In the latest stages of most types of dementia, patients become unable to attend to activities of daily living independently. They may become non-communicative, unable to recognize loved ones and even unable to move about.

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What If Something Happened To You

It is important to have a plan in case of your own illness, disability, or death.

  • Consult a lawyer about setting up a living trust, durable power of attorney for health care and finances, and other estate planning tools.
  • Consult with family and close friends to decide who will take responsibility for the person with Alzheimer’s. You also may want to seek information about your local public guardian’s office, mental health conservator’s office, adult protective services, or other case management services. These organizations may have programs to assist the person with Alzheimer’s in your absence.
  • Maintain a notebook for the responsible person who will assume caregiving. Such a notebook should contain the following information:
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Favorite activities or food

Preview board and care or long-term care facilities in your community and select a few as possibilities. Share this information with the responsible person. If the person with Alzheimer’s disease is no longer able to live at home, the responsible person will be better able to carry out your wishes for long-term care.

Respect Personal Style Choices

What you may think looks nice or decent may be far off from what your parent likes to wear. When it comes to picking out clothing for your loved one, offer them options similar to the style of clothes they already own. Do they like to wear a certain article of clothing on specific days or occasions? Options will help your loved one feel as though they still have control over some things in their life. Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming, but you still want to offer them choices. In this situation you might hold up two blouses and ask, Would you like to wear the red blouse or the blue blouse?

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