Planning For The Future: Tips For Caregivers
Making health care decisions for someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. Thats why it is important to plan health care directives in advance. To help plan for the future, you can:
- Start discussions early with your loved one so they can be involved in the decision-making process.
- Get permission in advance to talk to the doctor or lawyer of the person youre caring for, as needed. There may be questions about care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without consent, you may not be able to get needed information.
- Consider legal and financial matters, options for in-home care, long-term care, and funeral and burial arrangements.
Learning about your loved ones disease will help you know what to expect as the dementia progresses and what you can do.
Make Time For Reflection
At each new stage of dementia, you have to alter your expectations about what your loved one is capable of. By accepting each new reality and taking time to reflect on these changes, you can better cope with the emotional loss and find greater satisfaction in your caregiving role.
Keep a daily journal to record and reflect on your experiences. By writing down your thoughts, you can mourn losses, celebrate successes, and challenge negative thought patterns that impact your mood and outlook.
Count your blessings. It may sound counterintuitive in the midst of such challenges, but keeping a daily gratitude list can help chase away the blues. It can also help you focus on what your loved one is still capable of, rather than the abilities theyve lost.
Value what is possible. In the middle stages of dementia, your loved one still has many abilities. Structure activities to invite their participation on whatever level is possible. By valuing what your loved one is able to give, you can find pleasure and satisfaction on even the toughest days.
Improve your emotional awareness. Remaining engaged, focused, and calm in the midst of such tremendous responsibility can challenge even the most capable caregivers. By developing your emotional awareness skills, however, you can relieve stress, experience positive emotions, and bring new peace and clarity to your caretaking role.
Centers Of Excellence For Alzheimers Disease
Ten Centers of Excellence for Alzheimer´s Disease for the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer´s Disease and Other Dementias , provide the following services:
- integrative, comprehensive and coordinated medical services for the diagnosis of AD/D
- management and treatment of patients with AD/D
- support and referral of patients, their caregivers and family members to community-based support services
- promote of the benefits of participation in research and referral to clinical trials
- support for primary care physicians caring for people with AD/D
- training of health care providers and students in health care professions on the diagnosis and treatment of AD/D
- strong working relationships with community organizations and care providers
- promotion of public awareness about AD/D
How To Talk With A Parent About Dementia Symptoms
How to Talk With a Parent About Dementia Symptoms
Watching your parents age can be difficult and when signs of dementia appear, it can be harder than ever. Talking to parents about these changes may seem overwhelming, but having the tough conversation now can lead to an earlier diagnosis and will help everyone better cope with the changes.
Learn more about talking to a parent exhibiting dementia symptoms.
Acknowledge The Conversation May Not Go As Planned
You know you have good intentions, but your loved one may not be open or willing to discuss the changes you have noticed. They may be angry or defensive. Dont force the conversation. Take a break and plan to revisit the conversation later. If your loved one still refuses help, contact a medical professional.
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Tips To Live Well When Supporting Someone With Dementia
When you are the main support for a person with dementia, its crucial that you take care of yourself as well. This means making sure you access the help and services youre eligible for and getting help from family and friends whenever possible.
Respite care allows you to have a break from the hands-on work of caring, while offering a person with dementia the opportunity for cognitive stimulation and social activity, such as a local day programme. Often respite care is funded by the DHB.
Your Dementia Advisor will be able to provide advice for your specific situation.
Respite care can be in a day programme or in a short-term residential care facility thats funded by your local District Health Board . Talk to your Dementia Advisor to find out the respite available for you.
Allow Yourself Time To Adjust
The shock of the diagnosis can be paralyzing. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself allow yourself to move through the mourning process. Try to feel all the feelings, rather than deny them, and be up-front with your family and friends about your diagnosis. Youll likely move into problem-solving mode faster.
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Get A Carer’s Assessment
If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment.
A carer’s assessment might recommend things like:
- someone to take over caring so you can take a break
- training in how to lift safely
- help with housework and shopping
- putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one.
How Our Helpline Works
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the PsychGuides.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.
We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither PsychGuides.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
For more information on AACs commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.
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Refusing To Shower Or Attend To Hygiene
Refusing to shower is a common issue, but there are ways to make bathing more appealing. However, it is important to remember that you dont want to ever force someone to bathe. Assess how often taking a bath or shower is really necessary. If you can reduce the number of times someone bathes, the fewer opportunities for resistance.
- Make the environment appealing. Warm the bathroom in advance of the shower.
- Speak in a calm and reassuring voice.
- Pick a time of day where you are more likely to have success. For people with dementia, this is often in the morning.
- Some people dont like water on their heads. Consider a bath instead and wash hair separately.
- If someone doesnt want to get dressed, leave for a while, and come back to try again at a later time. The same with brushing teeth or any other hygiene duties. Break down all tasks into simple steps.
How You Can Help
Let the person help with everyday tasks, such as:
These can lead to increased confusion and make the symptoms of dementia worse.
Common food-related problems include:
- forgetting what food and drink they like
- refusing or spitting out food
- asking for strange food combinations
These behaviours can be due to a range of reasons, such as confusion, pain in the mouth caused by sore gums or ill-fitting dentures, or swallowing problems .
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How To Find Care Options In Your Community
- Ask around: A referral from a friend or neighbor is often one of the best ways to find community services.
- Ask a medical professional: Your healthcare provider can be a resource for community agencies that provide helpful services for your loved one.
- Look online: Search online for care resources in your local community.
- Turn to colleges: Community colleges and universities often have online job boards where you can post open positions.
- Contact the Alzheimer’s Association and the Area Agency on Aging: The Alzheimer’s Association can provide you with a list of local options for care in your community, and also guide you to those that specifically are designed to assist people living with dementia. The Area Agency on Aging may be able to refer you to specific community agencies that you were unaware of or help by locating or coordinating financial coverage for dementia care.
Keep in mind that if you don’t use an agency, you should consider conducting a background check and contact references to reduce the risk of identity theft or elder abuse.
Ways To Help When Someone Has Anosognosia In Dementia
1. Dont try to convince them they have dementiaUsing reason and evidence to explain or insist that someone has dementia is not going to help.
It will only upset them and will likely make them even more convinced that theyre right and youre wrongly discrediting them.
A more effective strategy is to discreetly make changes that will help them live safely.
And overall, stay calm and focused on their feelings when expressing your concerns and keep your comments as subtle and positive as possible.
2. Work with their doctors and care teamWhen your older adults dementia symptoms are interfering with their daily lives, its time to start working with their care team including doctors, relatives, friends, in-home caregivers, or assisted living staff.
Explain the problems your older adult is having and help the team understand that they arent aware of their dementia and why it wont help to try to convince them logically.
Work together to creatively provide your older adult the help they need without waiting for them ask for it or forcing them to admit theres a problem.
3. Discreetly make their life as safe as possibleMaking your older adults everyday life simpler and safer can help prevent someone with anosognosia in dementia from hurting themselves or others.
Some people might try to drive, manage money, cook, or do other activities that could be dangerous because of their cognitive impairment.
Finding ways to help that still preserve pride will be most effective.
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Expert Help For Early Dementia Caregivers And Loved Ones
Dementia is a progressive memory loss disease that usually starts around age 65. However, theres a chance that someone develops early-onset dementia in their 40s or 50s.
Early-onset dementia care is often provided by a spouse or other family member. But often, these individuals arent prepared for such a diagnosis and arent sure how to deal well with someone with early-onset dementia.
If you find yourself caring for a loved one with early dementia and want to know how to help someone with early dementia, you can start by:
For those looking to chat with an elder care expert in the Milwaukee, WI area, contact us.
At Stowell Associates, weve been providing quality Care Management services to elderly adults and their family members for nearly 40 years. Our Care Managers have extensive training and knowledge in dementia care. They can help you better understand how to care for your loved one and provide recommendations during decision-making processes. Care Managers can also assist you in hiring and managing in-home caregivers from our home care partner, Home Care Assistance.
Talk with a Care Manager today to learn more about our dementia Care Management services.
Services For People Caring For Someone With Dementia
The physical and emotional demands of caring for someone with dementia can be high. If you are caring for a person with dementia, you may also need support so you can look after yourself. It is easier to continue your care role if you take time out to recharge. Organisations and groups can help and support you if you are caring for someone with dementia.
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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.
Caregiving In The Middle Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia
As your loved ones Alzheimers disease or dementia symptoms progress, theyll require more and more careand youll need more and more support as their caregiver. Your loved one will gradually experience more extensive memory loss, may become lost in familiar settings, no longer be able to drive, and fail to recognize friends and family. Their confusion and rambling speech can make communicating more of a challenge and they may experience disturbing mood and behavior changes along with sleep problems.
Youll need to take on more responsibilities as your loved one loses independence, provide more assistance with the activities of daily living, and find ways of coping with each new challenge. Balancing these tasks with your other responsibilities requires attention, planning, and lots of support.
Ask for help. You cannot do it all alone. Its important to reach out to other family members, friends, or volunteer organizations to help with the daily burden of caregiving. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day to pursue your hobbies and interests and stay on top of your own health needs. This is not being neglectful or disloyal to your loved one. Caregivers who take regular time away not only provide better care, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.
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Sexuality And Intimacy In Dementia
A person with dementia may experience changes in sexual desire or behave in ways that are not considered socially appropriate. This factsheet suggests some of the reasons why these behaviours may occur, ways to meet the needs of the person and approaches to challenging situations.
Planning For The Future
- Talk to the person with dementia to make sure that they have a current up-to-date will that reflects their wishes.
- Encourage the person with dementia to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney so that a responsible person can make decisions on their behalf when they are no longer able to.
- Talk to the person with dementia about making an advance decision to refuse certain types of medical treatment in certain situations. It will only be used when the person with dementia has lost the capacity to make or communicate the decision in the future.
- If the person youre caring for has already lost the ability to make or communicate decisions but doesnt have an LPA, you can apply to the Court of Protection who can make decisions on behalf of that person or appoint someone else to do so.
If the person you care for drives, the law requires them to tell DVLA about their diagnosis. A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean someone has to stop driving straight away what matters is that they can drive safely.
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How To Communicate With Someone Who Has Dementia
As dementia progresses, it affects peoples ability to express themselves so you may need to learn new ways to understand and communicate with the person you care for. Here are some tips:
If youre struggling with unusual or challenging behaviour, speak to the persons GP to get a referral to your community mental health team. The Alzheimer Societys factsheet Aggressive behaviour has more useful information including how to react, working out triggers, and dealing with your own feelings.
It’s worth bearing in mind that distress and confusion may be caused by other health needs than dementia. Always discuss any concerns with the person’s GP so they can check for physical causes of symptoms.