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How To Help A Family Member With Dementia

How You Can Help

How to help a family member dealing with Dementia

Let the person help with everyday tasks, such as:

  • shopping

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 difficulty swallowing.

Stage : Mild Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

Tips For Meeting The Unique Challenges Of Caring For Someone With Dementia Or Alzheimer’s

AARP, Updated September 16, 2021| 0

En español | Nearly 11.2 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and 57 percent have been doing so for at least four years, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2021 statistical report. These family members and friends face the normal stresses of caregiving plus other, unique challenges.

Most distressing can be having to learn how to interact with a loved one whose cognitive decline results in erratic behavior and personality changes.

In the early stages of the disease, the impairments may be relatively minor. Make the most of that time together, and encourage your loved one to join you in developing a care plan.

These steps and tips can help you adapt to your role as a care partner.

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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.

How To Get Expert Help Caring For A Relative With Dementia

Dementia Diagnosis in Family Members  This Caring Home

Dealing with dementia parents comes with unique difficulties and challenges. Dementia affects memory loss and can also cause changes in behavior.

In this article, we listed four of the major difficulties involved in caring for someone with dementia:

  • Communication
  • Wandering
  • Sleeplessness

We also provided some dementia tips and tricks for family caregivers to help answer the question, How do you care for an elderly person with dementia?

But even with all this information and these dementia tips for carers helping someone with dementia, you may need professional assistance.

At Stowell Associates, we dedicate ourselves to supporting family caregivers and providing hands-on help to aging adults. We offer three services that can significantly benefit you if youre unsure how to help seniors with dementia:

  • Care Coaching:Care Coaching is a way for family caregivers to remotely talk with and get help from an expert elder care professional. You get 75 minutes of call time each month with a Care Coach who will provide you with valuable tools and resources to help you care for your loved one.
  • Respite Care: For family caregivers who need help a few days a week, theres respite care. Respite caregivers enter into you or your loved ones home to assist your loved one with daily life tasks.
  • Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor and receive professional insight into the care that your loved one needs.

    Read Also: Can Lewy Body Dementia Be Inherited

    Activities That Add To The Stress

    A woman looking after her husband with dementia finds that he has taken to dismantling cameras or various pieces of equipment that he can find. This is stressful for her as the equipment is expensive and often cant be repaired. However, the man seems to be having a very happy and purposeful time looking at all the parts, sorting and rearranging them.

    If you were supporting this family, it would be important to help the wife recognise the benefits of this activity, but also to try to find creative solutions to the problem of expensive equipment being ruined. Charity shops and internet sites might offer sources for cheap cameras that can be dismantled.

    Legal And Financial Planning Resources For Low

    Families who cannot afford a lawyer can still plan for the future. Samples of basic health planning documents are available online. Area Agency on Aging officials may provide legal advice or help. Other possible sources of legal assistance and referral include state legal aid offices, state bar associations, local nonprofit agencies, foundations, and social service agencies.

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    The Warmth Of The Human Touch

    Ever noticed how a good massage helps soothe any person, even a baby enjoys it. A gentle touch or a warm hug can result in a calming effect. It creates a bond between the carer and the person with dementia and helps increase trust. A gentle pat on the hand or shoulders or a soft back rub is a great way to help them feel less agitated or anxious. Truly, touch is everything when words fall short.

    Tips For Those Affected By Dementia

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

    If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions, such as denial, anger, fear, loneliness, frustration, loss, and/or depression.

    Here are some things to keep in mind in order to manage the disease in a way that benefits you and your family:

    A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that life is over. It means that there will be challenges ahead, and thinking about those challenges now will help prepare those close to you and benefit all of you in the long run.

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    Tips For A Healthy And Active Lifestyle For People With Dementia

    Eating healthy and staying active is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Alzheimers and related dementias. As the disease progresses, finding ways for the person to eat healthy foods and stay active may be increasingly challenging. Here are some tips that may help:

    • Consider different activities the person can do to stay active, such as household chores, cooking and baking, exercise, and gardening. Match the activity to what the person can do.
    • Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun. People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.
    • Add music to exercises or activities if it helps motivate the person. Dance to the music if possible.
    • Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several short mini-workouts may be best.
    • Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
    • Buy a variety of healthy foods, but consider food that is easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single portions.
    • Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, Would you like yogurt or cottage cheese?

    How Can I Support Someone As Their Dementia Progresses

    In the later-stages of dementia the person may become increasingly dependent on others for their care.

    They may have severe memory loss at this stage and fail to recognise those close to them. They may lose weight , lose their ability to walk, become incontinent, and behave in unusual ways.

    Not everyone will show all these signs, and some people may show them earlier on in the illness.

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    Making The Most Of Your Interactions

  • 1Limit distractions. If you want to interact with your family member, create a safe environment that feels comforting and not threatening. Turn off any background noise such as television or radio. Move to a room that has limited noise and consider shutting the door or closing the curtains.XResearch source
  • A minimally distracting environment can help your loved one focus their attention and energy on the conversation.
  • 2Introduce yourself each visit. Your family member may not remember who you are from visit to visit. Begin each time you see your family member by introducing yourself and your relationship.XResearch source For example, say, âHello, I’m Rebecca, your niece. I’m your son Alex’s daughter.â
  • Be friendly in your introduction. If they don’t recognize you, remember that it’s not personal, and recognition may change from day to day.
  • 3Speak warmly and calmly. Avoid speaking in âbaby talkâ and instead focus on making your voice clear, calm, and soothing.XResearch source Focus on providing safety through your voice.
  • If you notice that you’re speaking tensely, sharply, or that you’re raising your voice, take a pause and do some deep breathing. Come back to speaking when you’re able to speak calmly and with reassurance.
  • Help With Emotional Adjustments

    Three Tips for Helping a Caregiver Or Family Member Caring ...

    Its not just the logistical issues that social workers can assist with. We also help with emotional impacts, says Epstein. Very often an adult child will say, I cant tell my mother what do. It can feel like theyre becoming the mother or it can even feel like a loss of a mother. Its hard for them to see that theyre helping the parent by instructing them, not co-opting them youre not doing anyone a favor by doing that. A social worker can help them navigate that new dynamic.

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    Living With: A Family Member With Dementia

    Dementia is a disease that can bring grief to a family if it isnt handled correctly. There are so many myths circulating about the illness, and many people do not understand that dementia is a manageable condition. In fact, many families living with a dementia patient can find some peace and a little stability. It just takes a clear understanding of what dementia is and how it can be managed.

    First, everyone must realize the dementia is a symptom of another, more complex disease or disorder. It isnt contagious and you cant just come down with it like a cold.There is always something else that leads to the dementia.

    These conditions include:

    • Narrowing blood vessels
    • Head injuries
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver disease

    Some of these conditions only cause a temporary form of dementia that can be overcome with physical therapy, medication and time. Other forms of dementia are degenerative, so they get worse as the years go on. If your loved one suffers from the latter versions, it is best to make their time with you as enjoyable as possible. To do so, you may have to accommodate the dementia sufferer while the disease is still manageable.

    Tips For Caregivers: Taking Care Of Yourself

    Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia takes time and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating. You might even feel angry, which could be a sign you are trying to take on too much. It is important to find time to take care of yourself. Here are some tips that may offer some relief:

    • Ask for help when you need it. This could mean asking family members and friends to help or reaching out to for additional care needs.
    • Eat nutritious foods, which can help keep you healthy and active for longer.
    • Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person. Meeting other caregivers will give you a chance to share stories and ideas and can help keep you from feeling isolated.
    • Take breaks each day. Try making a cup of tea or calling a friend.
    • Spend time with friends and keep up with hobbies.
    • Get exercise as often as you can. Try doing yoga or going for a walk.
    • Try practicing meditation. Research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.
    • Consider seeking help from mental health professionals to help you cope with stress and anxiety. Talk with your doctor about finding treatment.

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    How To Recognize Early Dementia Symptoms

    The Alzheimers Association identifies 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia that can help Alzheimers experts and medical professionals diagnose dementia earlier:

  • Challenges in planning or problem-solving.
  • Changes in mood and personality.
  • Confusion with place or time.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  • Misplacing objects.
  • Trouble understanding spatial relationships and visual images.
  • Withdrawal from social activities.
  • Diagnosing Alzheimers and related forms of dementia early may allow someone experiencing the symptoms access to new drug trials, giving them a broader treatment plan with more options. Additionally, an early diagnosis can help you and your family plan financially and legally for your future.

    Plan Specific Ways To Start The Conversation

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

    Use these conversation starters:

    • Ive been thinking through my own long-term care plans lately and I was wondering if you have any advanced planning tips for me?
    • I was wondering if youve noticed the same changes in your behavior that Ive noticed?
    • Would you want to know if I noticed any concerning changes in your behavior?

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    Icipating In Activities During Covid

    Due to COVID-19, access to recreational facilities, gyms, or memory cafés may be limited due to state health department and CDC guidelines. You also may not be able to see friends and family in person. However, you can adapt activities to stay socially distant. Try participating in an online exercise or an educational class together, or keeping physically distant while taking walks outside. Instead of sitting down in person for coffee or lunch, set up a video chat or call them on the phone.

    Resources For Alzheimer’s Care

    Explore the portal for information and resources on Alzheimers and related dementias caregiving from across the federal government.Phone: 1-800-438-4380

    Alzheimer’s AssociationPhone: 1-800-272-3900

    The Alzheimer’s Association offers information, a help line, and support services to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Local chapters across the country offer support groups, including many that help with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Call or go online to find out where to get help in your area. The Association also funds Alzheimer’s research.

    Alzheimer’s Foundation of AmericaPhone: 1-866-232-8484

    The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America provides information about how to care for people with Alzheimer’s, as well as a list of services for people with the disease. It also offers information for caregivers and their families through member organizations. Services include a toll-free hotline, publications, and other educational materials.

    Eldercare LocatorPhone: 1-800-677-1116

    Caregivers often need information about community resources, such as home care, adult day care, and nursing homes. Contact the Eldercare Locator to find these resources in your area. The Eldercare Locator is a service of the Administration on Aging. The Federal Government funds this service.

    Phone: 1-800-222-2225TTY: 1-800-222-4225

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    Think Through Who Should Have The Conversation

    Is there a certain family member or close friend who can positively influence your loved one? Consider asking that person to be with you or have the conversation privately.

    Have you had a tough conversation with a parent about dementia symptoms? Share your stories and tips with us in the comments below.

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    Where Can I Get Help With Legal And Financial Planning

    Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

    Health care providers cannot act as legal or financial advisers, but they can encourage planning discussions between patients and their families. Doctors can also guide patients, families, the care team, attorneys, and judges regarding the patient’s ability to make decisions. Discussing advance care planning decisions with a doctor is free through Medicare during the annual wellness visit. Private health insurance may also cover these discussions.

    An elder law attorney helps older adults and their families interpret state laws, plan how wishes will be carried out, understand financial options, and learn how to preserve financial assets.

    Its a good idea to ask about a lawyers fees before making an appointment. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the American Bar Association can help families find qualified attorneys. Also, a local bar association can help identify free legal aid options. See the resources at the end of this article for more information.

    Geriatric care managers are trained social workers or nurses who can help people with dementia and their families. Read more about geriatric care managers.

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    Counseling From A Mental Health Or Social Work Professional

    Mental health or social work professionals help you understand your feelings, such as anger, sadness, or feeling out of control and overwhelmed, and help you deal with any stress you may be feeling. They also help develop plans for unexpected or sudden events.

    What to know about costs:

    • Professional mental health counselors charge by the hour. There may be big differences in the rates you would be charged from one counselor to another.
    • Some insurance companies will cover some of these costs.
    • Medicare or Medicaid may cover some of these costs.
    • You must pay all costs not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance.

    How to find them:

    • It’s a good idea to ask your health insurance staff which counselors and services, if any, your insurance plan covers. Then check with your doctor, local family service agencies, and community mental health agencies for referrals to counselors.


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