The Plate Colour Matters
In a study conducted at Boston University, researchers found that patients eating from red plates consumed 25 percent more food than those eating from white plates. This appears to be connected with the way someone living with dementia sees food on a plate. If you cant really see food because its on a white background you are much less likely to eat it.
The use of colour helps to stimulate interest in dementia patents, as often they have trouble distinguishing between colour. If the food is too close to the colour palette of the plate, people with dementia can struggle to distinguish the contrast between the two and realise there is food to be eaten.
A company called Eatwell Tableware have a fantastic selection of innovative tablewear designed for those with dementia or motor impairment.
Sentai – Meal reminders and much more
Using smart technology, Sentai can take care of daily reminders like gently telling someone with dementia that its time to eat. Sentai can help them to retain their independence by giving you piece of mind with live updates and insights as to their wellbeing, without being intrusive. If something doesnt seem right, or they press and emergency button, Sentai will immediately let you know.
Help With Incontinence And Using The Toilet
People with dementia may often experience problems with going to the toilet.
Problems can be caused by:
- urinary tract infections
- constipation, which can cause added pressure on the bladder
- some medicines
Sometimes the person with dementia may simply forget they need the toilet or where the toilet is.
Dont Neglect Your Own Needs
By always focusing so diligently on your loved ones needs throughout the progression of their dementia, its easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own welfare. If youre not getting the physical and emotional support you need, you wont be able to provide the best level of care, and youre more likely to become overwhelmed and suffer burnout.
Plan for your own care. Visit your doctor for regular checkups and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of excessive stress. Its easy to abandon the people and activities you love when youre mired in caregiving, but you risk your health and peace of mind by doing so. Take time away from caregiving to maintain friendships, social contacts, and professional networks, and pursue the hobbies and interests that bring you joy.
The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care
Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.
As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.
For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.
Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.
Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.
Try Some Of These Best Foods For Dementia Patients To Eat
There are lots of fads and daily news on the latest food to help slow down dementia. Advice from the Alzheimers Society and other expert dementia organisations is clear: there are foods that can help reduce some of the symptoms, but mostly its common sense. A healthy balanced diet with treats in moderation of course. Some suggestions include:
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If You’re Struggling To Cope
Carers often find it difficult to talk about the stress involved with caring. If you feel like you’re not managing, don’t feel guilty. There’s help and support available.
You may benefit from counselling or another talking therapy, which may be available online.
Talk to your GP or, if you prefer, you can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service.
Tips For Home Safety For People 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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How These Care Options Help
Sometimes, individuals with dementia become restless, agitated, or confused. If they live with family members in their own home, their caregivers may become frustrated or tired from providing 24-hour care. Supplementing care either at home or through other care resources can allow the caregiver to attend a work meeting, run errands, spend time with their family, go read a book somewhere quiet, or enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend.
Additionally, if a particular task such as bathing or showering is especially difficult, you can troubleshoot that challenge by arranging a twice-weekly bath, for example. Being proactive about using care resources reduces your chance of burnout and ensures that you are able to meet your loved one’s needs.
Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient
Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.
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Ensure The Right Nutrition
It is easy for someone with dementia to forget to eat balanced and nutritious meals, making them susceptible to deficiencies and malnutrition, so youll need to also keep track of their diet. Due to an inability to express what they want at times, a person with dementia may not be able to say they are hungry or ask for what they need. Keep food and snacks and drinks readily available and visible to them so they can help themselves to what they need, without having to constantly struggle with asking. A person with dementia may lose their sense of smell so stronger flavors and more seasoning may help them keep up their appetites.13
Caregiver Support Is A Phone Call Away
Talk to caring people for practical caregiving information and help finding local resources/services.
If the person you care for asks questions repeatedly, has trouble performing simple tasks, or forgets recent events, he or she may have a form of dementia.
There are several causes for dementia, so you should have the person diagnosed by a doctor.
Some dementia may be caused by factors that can be treated, such as drug interactions, severe diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or depression. The most common kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. It is not curable.
There are many helpful resources for family caregivers coping with dementia, including:
Listen And Pay Attention To Queues
Caregivers will often say you need to listen with your whole body when it comes to caring for someone with dementia. This means that many of their responses may be non-verbal, so you cant simply rely on them answering your question or responding in a straightforward way. By listening with your ears, eyes, and heart, you can pick up on these queues that can tell you what they are feeling or trying to say. Their behaviors and movements may tell you a lot more than what actually gets saidusually not much in the later stages where speech is severely affected.
Its important as a caregiver to not take irritation and sometimes aggressive behaviors personally. This is often a sign of frustration and confusion about what is going on or why certain things are harder to do or remember. Reacting to aggressive behavior with kindness and compassion, and remembering that this behavior really isnt targeted at you personally, will help both the person with dementia and the caregiver better cope with this challenging time.
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.
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Getting Help With Alzheimer’s Caregiving
Some caregivers need help when the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Other caregivers look for help when the person is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s okay to seek help whenever you need it.
As the person moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s, he or she will need more care. One reason is that medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can only control symptoms they cannot cure the disease. Symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, will get worse over time.
Because of this, you will need more help. You may feel that asking for help shows weakness or a lack of caring, but the opposite is true. Asking for help shows your strength. It means you know your limits and when to seek support.
Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service
The DBMAS helps people support someone with dementia in situations when their behaviour is impacting on their care.DBMAS can:
- assess the person with dementia
- provide clinical support, information and advice
- help with care planning and short-term case management.
Assessments are free of charge for people demonstrating behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, and DBMAS can make referrals to other support services.
Call the DBMAS 24-hour telephone helpline on 1800 699 799 or visit the DBMAS website.
Emotional Support And Mental Health
- Mind provides information and advice on mental health problems and accessing support and treatments. As well as its Infoline , Mind has local teams that offer support including advocacy and counselling services. They also have a legal line that offers information and general advice on mental health law and rights.
- Scottish Association for Mental Health has over 60 services across Scotland providing mental health, addiction, homelessness and employment services. Call 0344 800 0550
- Inspire offers a range of services providing support to people with mental health problems in the country. Call 0808 189 0036.
- Cruse Bereavement Care offers support, advice and information to people when someone dies, through their helpline, 0808 808 1677. They also provide training for those who may encounter bereaved people in the course of their work. They have a website specifically for children and young people. A separate helpline operates in Scotland, on 0845 600 2227.
- You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time about anything thats troubling you, no matter how small. This could be loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement, financial worries, loneliness and isolation, depression or painful/disabling physical illness.
- Relate is the UKs largest provider of support for people experiencing a range of relationship problems, offering counselling and therapy over the phone, online and in person. They charge for some of their services. Call 0300 003 0396.
Guardianship Will Give You Control Over Healthcare
Obtaining guardianship of an aging parent can allow you to contract with healthcare agencies on behalf of your loved one. Under normal circumstances, if a patient refuses to sign a contract for services, those services cant be provided. As the guardian, you can authorize, manage, and monitor care for your loved one.
Refusing To Go To The Doctor
Some people with dementia may not want to bother with attending a doctors appointment or may insist that it is not necessary. The tips below can help you address the concern and figure out what may be driving the refusal.
- Is the issue urgent? If it isnt, pick your battles and consider using telehealth instead for a routine appointment.
- Try and find out what the fear or concern is. Perhaps your parent doesnt like the doctor or is afraid of needles. Be reassuring, and avoid using a condescending tone.
- If there is an urgent need, you may have to push more forcefully for a visit. Do so with confidence but kindness.
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.
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Finding Dementia Care And Local Services
On this page
A person with dementia will need more care as symptoms worsen over time. Problems with memory, thinking, and behavior often present challenges for those with dementia as well as for their family members. Whether the disease is in early or late stages, there are support systems, resources, and services that can help.
While it can be difficult for some to admit they need assistance with care or caregiving, it is okay to ask for help. In fact, when it comes to caregiving, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.
Explore the tips and resources below to find information about dementia care and local services.
How To Offer Help To Someone With Dementia Who Doesnt Want It
Do you know a person with dementia or memory problems who is refusing offers of help? Here are a few ways to support someone who may be in denial about their situation.
It is common for someone living with dementia to deny that they are experiencing issues with their memory or other aspects of cognition.
This could be due to denial or lack of insight. Similar to denial, lack of insight means that a person with dementia is unable to recognise changes in their behaviour and personality.
Continued denial can cause problems in the person’s future. They may refuse to accept help, there could be delays in starting or stopping medication, or they may continue to drive despite it not being safe for them to do so.
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Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive
Dementia is progressive, so you’ll want to regularly assess how much support your loved one needs.
“Caregivers need to recognize when a one-off issue is becoming a pattern and be quick to enact a solution,” says Dr. Wright. “When caregiving for someone with dementia, it’s critical to be proactive, not reactive.”
Determining when exactly it’s time to make these protective decisions is tough, though.
If you’re struggling to determine when your loved one needs more care or what more care even looks like, a home safety evaluation can help you assess:
- Your loved one’s risk
Caregiving In The Early Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia
In the early stages of Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, your loved one may not need much caregiving assistance. Rather, your role initially may be to help them come to terms with their diagnosis, plan for the future, and stay as active, healthy, and engaged as possible.
Accept the diagnosis. Accepting a dementia diagnosis can be just as difficult for family members as it for the patient. Allow yourself and your loved one time to process the news, transition to the new situation, and grieve your losses. But dont let denial prevent you from seeking early intervention.
Deal with conflicting emotions. Feelings of anger, frustration, disbelief, grief, denial, and fear are common in the early stages of Alzheimers or dementiafor both the patient and you, the caregiver. Let your loved one express what theyre feeling and encourage them to continue pursuing activities that add meaning and purpose to their life. To deal with your own fears, doubts, and sadness, find others you can confide in.
Make use of available resources. There are a wealth of community and online resources to help you provide effective care on this journey. Start by finding the Alzheimers Association in your country . These organizations offer practical support, helplines, advice, and training for caregivers and their families. They can also put you in touch with local support groups.
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