What About Individuals With Dementia
Dementia is not a disease it is a decline in cognitive function related to aging. Dementia can be caused by a number of conditions, the most common being Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers affects some aspects of brain function, like memory, verbal processing and motor skills/coordination. A person experiencing cognitive decline might have many of these functions intact but suffer from a diminishment of them.
“The biggest thing to remember with a person with dementia is that they’re a person with dementia,” explained Cameron Camp, Director and Senior Research Scientist, Menorah Park Center for Senior Living.
Depending on the severity of dementia, some brain functions might be compromised severely, or even absent. A person with Alzheimers disease still has a normal need for social inclusion and interaction, meaning, fulfillment, warmth, affection, health and serenity, love, and happiness.
Activities for such an individual then might overlap with those of fully healthy people. In other words, people with dementia should be respected and treated with the same esteem as any other person. They should not be related to in a patronizing or condescending manner, as if they are of less value than anyone else. Try to include them in activities that the whole family is taking part in, or giving them something similar to do if they can no longer follow a game or craft as precisely as the rest of the table or room.
What Support Is Available For Me If I Care For Someone With Dementia
When youre caring for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and more able to cope with your caring role.
Caring for someone with dementia can lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it can be difficult to share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated.
Its important to acknowledge these feelings, and to remember that theres no right or wrong way to feel. If youre feeling anxious or depressed, or you’re struggling to cope, talk to your doctor who can let you know about the help and support available to you.
Free Support For Your Family
Weve set-up a Dementia Helpline for anyone needed expert advice on dealing with the effects of dementia. Call 03300376958 to speak to a specialist.
Our practical dementia Life Story Book, developed with Dementia UK, provides a useful template, helping you, your family and your carer support your loved one. See our guide on dementia care and nutritional guide for more expert tips on supporting a loved one at home.
Helping Hands are very flexible in meeting my requirements for home care. This allows me to continue looking after my wife at home where I know she is happiest and safeRead more
Mr Bunting, shared on Trustpilot
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How Long Can Dementia Patients Live At Home
Ultimately, someone with dementia can live at home until they pass away. However, it often requires that they receive full-time, hands-on help in the later stages of dementia.
As dementia progresses, it affects more than someones short-term memory. The late stages of dementia usually cause the person to lose motor functions and hinder their ability to live independently. This loss of function can lead them to need help:
A person with late-stage dementia often requires 24-hour hands-on assistance. This help can come from a family member who lives with their loved one or a full-time caregiver from an in-home care company.
But with 24-hour care, someone with dementia can live in their home indefinitely.
Do Dementia Patients Do Better At Home
The biggest value that home care offers is that it allows elders to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This option is far less disorienting for a dementia patient than a move to an assisted living facility, a memory care unit or a nursing home. Familiar environments offer a great deal of security and peace of mind for individuals with dementia. If a company offers specially trained home health aides for dementia patients, then in-home care can be the ideal starting point for families who need extra help with their loved ones but want to prevent or delay placement in a long-term care facility.
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Moving To A Care Home
If the persons needs become too great for you to manage at home, you may need to consider other long-term options. If youre becoming exhausted or the person with dementia is becoming harder to care for, a care home might be the best option for you both.
A move to a care home can be a difficult decision, but there are limits to the care you can provide.
If the person you care for is moving into a care home, familiar furniture, belongings or music can help them feel more settled.
Cope With Changes In Communication
As your loved ones Alzheimers or dementia progresses, youll notice changes in how they communicate. They may have trouble finding words, substitute one word for another, repeat the same things over and over, or become easily confused. Increased hand gestures, losing their train of thought, and even inappropriate outbursts are all common as well.
Even if your loved one has trouble maintaining a conversationor less interest in starting oneits important to encourage social interaction. Making them feel safe rather than stressed will make communication easier, so try to manage your own frustration levels.
Be patient. If your loved one has difficulty recalling a word, for example, allow them time. Getting anxious or impatient will only inhibit their recall. Gently supply the word or tell the person that you can come back to it later.
Be aware of your body language. Your loved one responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and nonverbal cues as much as the words you choose. Make eye contact, stay calm, and keep a relaxed, open posture.
Speak slowly and clearly. Give one direction or ask one question at a time, use short sentences, and give your loved one more time to process whats being said. Find a simpler way to say the same thing if it wasnt understood the first time.
Maintain respect. Dont use patronizing language, baby talk, or sarcasm. It can cause hurt or confusion.
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Activities For Alzheimers/dementia Patients At Home
Get ideas on activities that Alzheimers or dementia patients can enjoy at home. Caretakers can use these activities to keep their loved ones engaged and busy.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing activities for Alzheimers or dementia patients living at home is to match the activities to the persons abilities. This means matching activities to the physical and cognitive level of people with Alzheimers or dementia, and to your loved ones skills and abilities in particular. This matching is necessary to keep the person from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated if the activity is too difficult or virtually impossible. Remember that even things they used to excel at might become frustratingly difficult as their condition progresses.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
As dementia progresses, it may be prudent for the suffering person and their carers to think about alternative accommodation like nursing homes for dementia patients.
The nursing homes typically admit individuals who can no longer care for themselves.
On this note, it is important to note that nursing homes have undergone major transitions over the years.
They are no longer the boring and scary homes that the elderly detested.
They have upgraded to try and offer cozy and fun accommodation to those in need.
Lets look at some of the reasons nursing homes for dementia patients are a great choice for weak individuals.
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What Is Dementia Care
Dementia care is all about helping you or a relative to have the support they need to carry on living in their own home. As a Dementia Action Alliance member, our carers always work to follow a routine that youre used to and comfortable with, maintaining independence as much as possible, and always promoting the highest standard of care for the person theyre supporting.
Specialized Dementia Care Training
Home care companies provide assistance with activities of daily living , companionship and many other core services. In addition, many companies offer professional training in dementia care for their employees. Common aspects of this training include methods for staying engaged with the senior, managing often unpredictable behaviors through validation and redirection, communicating effectively, and breaking down activities into smaller steps that are easier to manage. There are several training programs and schools of thought when it comes to dementia care, so be sure to inquire about the particular education a home care company provides to or requires of its caregivers.
Safety training is also part of professional caregivers initial and ongoing education since seniors with dementia may be prone to wandering and other risky behaviors. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 90 percent of community-residing persons with dementia had unmet safety needs, particularly for fall risk and wander risk management and home safety evaluations. Increased supervision and assistance from both informal and formal caregivers are crucial components in helping elders reduce safety risks while they continue living in their own homes.
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Dont Remove Yourself Emotionally
Your loved one needs nurturing. You probably do too! Find ways to stay connected emotionally. Express how you are feeling, tell them a story, or even sing them a song if you feel up to it. Even if the receptive language has begun to recede, often the emotional tenor of a message can still get through. Express yourself to your loved one focusing on the emotional parts of the story rather than the details.
Dementia Care At Home
More than 65 million people, or 29% of the U.S. population, currently provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member. On average, they spend 20 hours per week caring for their loved one. However, because patients with advanced dementia require around-the-clock supervision, many family caregivers are forced to either leave their jobs or cut back on hours at work.
According to one recent study, 6.3% of family caregivers suffer from anxiety and depression compared to just 4.3% of non-caregivers. More than 17% of those caring for a loved one with Alzheimers or dementia experienced other mental health issues compared to only 10.9% of the general population.
In a poll conducted by the Alzheimers Association, 35% of family caregivers reported that their own health had gone downhill while caring for their loved one. Another survey by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 33% of caregivers struggle to maintain their own health and have skipped personal doctor visits because of caregiving duties.
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Involve The Person But Think About The Carer
Planning the future move with the person themselves is vital.
There may be question marks about whether the person has the mental capacity to make a decision about the move, but their views should be included in the process of deciding.
Try to be positive about the move, and the benefits it may have for the person give them as much choice as possible, and let them feel that they have some control.
This can be a very difficult time for the carer and support from family, friends and professionals is very important. Many carers have devoted years to caring for the person and may need help in coping with losing them. They will need to find ways of continuing their caring role in partnership with the care home as well as developing other interests to occupy their time.
Help Them Stay Organized But Without Doing Everything For Them
Having a nighttime routine also helps with sleep problems that some seniors with dementia encounter. Doctors suggest non-drug options to manage sleep issues in those with dementia-related sleeping issues. The right room temperature, comfortable bedding, nightwear, and a soft light that isnt too dark can help. So can reading or listening to music to wind down instead of television or a drink which can act as a stimulant and disrupt sleep.9
A person with dementia may need help with their daily tasks and life which theyd managed alone until now. Having a set routine can help. Dont do everything for them though it might make them feel unwanted or useless. Instead, have them do things with you or assist with little jobs around the house. If tasks seem daunting, break it down into simpler steps for them. You could even use notes or little posters at critical locations to help them remember what to do or how to do something.10
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Offers Caregivers Great Peace Of Mind
It can be very stressful to leave a person who has late-stage dementia alone at home.
You might even stay with them all day and night and still not offer the proper care they require.
Relatives and friends get to enjoy great peace of mind when their loved one is in a good nursing home. It also creates opportunities for spending quality time together when they visit the ill person in the home.
When the person with dementia is at a premium nursing home, it also implies that relatives and friends can go back to their normal routines seeing that the ill person is in the right environment.
Relief from some of the caregiving responsibilities is always welcome from the caregivers.
Tips For Changes In Communication And Behavior For People With Dementia
Communication can be hard for people with Alzheimers and related dementias because they have trouble remembering things. They also can become agitated and anxious, even angry. In some forms of dementia, language abilities are affected such that people have trouble finding the right words or have difficulty speaking. You may feel frustrated or impatient, but it is important to understand that the disease is causing the change in communication skills. To help make communication easier, you can:
- Reassure the person. Speak calmly. Listen to his or her concerns and frustrations. Try to show that you understand if the person is angry or fearful.
- Allow the person to keep as much control in his or her life as possible.
- Respect the persons personal space.
- Build quiet times into the day, along with activities.
- Keep well-loved objects and photographs around the house to help the person feel more secure.
- Remind the person who you are if he or she doesnt remember, but try not to say, Dont you remember?
- Encourage a two-way conversation for as long as possible.
- Try distracting the person with an activity, such as a familiar book or photo album, if you are having trouble communicating with words.
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Dealing With Stubbornness In Parents Living With Dementia: 50 Expert Tips For Communicating Gaining Cooperation And Understanding Behavior
Caring for aging parents gives adult children peace of mind to know they are providing loving care. It also allows for them to make more memories and spend more time with parents in the final chapter of their lives. But caregiving is far from easy, especially when loved ones are diagnosed with dementia. Resisting care and general stubbornness are two hallmarks of dementia, and they are among the most common reasons that adult children look for help as caregivers.
If youre unsure how to deal with stubbornness in parents with dementia, youre not alone. Most family caregivers of loved ones with dementia struggle daily with getting them to the doctor, gaining their cooperation, convincing them to bathe and brush their teeth, and communicating with them. Read on for a comprehensive list of tips from other caregivers, medical professionals, gerontologists, and dementia experts. Tips are categorized and listed them alphabetically within each category, but are not ranked or rated in any way.
If you need help caring for a parent or a loved one with dementia at home, learn more about Seniorlinks coaching and financial assistance program for caregivers of Medicaid-eligible friends and family members.
Deal With Personal Hygiene And Incontinence
Urinary tract infections, incontinence, constipation these are just some issues the elderly have to deal with. Add to that the tendency to forget the need to go to the toilet or even where the toilet actually is, and a person with dementia has even more trouble. Prominently signpost the toilet with a board of some kind, keep the door open for easy access, and ensure the person with dementia has clothes that are quickly removed using a zipper instead of buttons helps. When it comes to personal hygiene, the fear of falling or becoming disoriented might keep someone from washing regularly. Some patients may allow a caregiver to help with this or be present when they are bathing.14
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End Of Life Dementia Care And Covid
Older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Older adults also have the highest rates of dementia. Given the risks that older adults face from both COVID-19 and dementia, its important to understand how to protect yourself and your loved one. Find more information about dementia and COVID-19 from the CDC.
When a dementia like Alzheimers disease is first diagnosed, if everyone understands that there is no cure, then plans for the end of life can be made before thinking and speaking abilities fail and the person with Alzheimers can no longer legally complete documents like advance directives.
End-of-life care decisions are more complicated for caregivers if the dying person has not expressed the kind of care he or she would prefer. Someone newly diagnosed with Alzheimers disease might not be able to imagine the later stages of the disease.