Talk With Your Family And Children About Caregiving
Be honest while explaining dementia to children. Children are very intuitive. They will know that their grandparent, aunt or uncle are changing and that their behavior is odd. Explain the disease and that loving the senior family member is most important. Engage them and empower them to be part of the caregiving process. Younger children can read to the senior, or help you with chores. The family will be less stressed when the situation is discussed out in the open.
You might also wish to share ideas with your kids on how to communicate with your loved one:
- Go with it. If the grandparent says something that doesnt seem to make sense, tell children to just play along. Its sort of like playing make believe.
- Plan ahead. Suggest what to talk about, or choose an activity in advance.
- Use activities. Try a coloring book, listen to music or sing songs together.
Check For Other Medical Conditions
Both sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are associated with increasing age and have symptoms which will easily wake someone with dementia. To identify if your parent or partner has sleep apnea, you may have to watch them while they sleep. Someone with this condition will pause when they breathe, almost momentarily stopping breathing. This momentary lack of air can wake someone up, and is really quite frightening for the person sleeping next to them as they wait for the next breath.
If your parent/partner suffers from restless leg syndrome they move or twitch their legs uncontrollably, especially during the evenings and night-time. They may also experience tingling, burning and fizzing sensations in their legs too. Symptoms can be relieved by rubbing and stretching legs – but it can be so bad that it wakes the person up. If you discover that your parent/partner has either of these medical conditions, its wise to see a GP and ask for help.
Creative Activities For Seniors With Dementia
Tailoring activities based on a seniors talents and interests is helpful, says Niki Gewirtz, a Senior Living Advisor at A Place for Mom and former executive director of a memory care community. She enjoyed getting to know residents hobbies before they came to memory care and using that information to personalize activities.
Think back or ask relatives and friends about your loved ones passions and strengths. Then, encourage them to do similar things.
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The Truth About Aging And Dementia
As we age, our brains change, but Alzheimers disease and related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, up to 40% of dementia cases may be prevented or delayed. It helps to understand whats normal and whats not when it comes to brain health.
Normal brain aging may mean slower processing speeds and more trouble multitasking, but routine memory, skills, and knowledge are stable and may even improve with age. Its normal to occasionally forget recent events such as where you put your keys or the name of the person you just met.
In the United States, 6.2 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimers disease, the most common type of dementia. People with dementia have symptoms of cognitive decline that interfere with daily lifeincluding disruptions in language, memory, attention, recognition, problem solving, and decision-making. Signs to watch for include:
Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. There are 7 ways to help maintain your brain health.
- Not being able to complete tasks without help.
- Trouble naming items or close family members.
- Forgetting the function of items.
- Repeating questions.
- Taking much longer to complete normal tasks.
- Misplacing items often.
- Being unable to retrace steps and getting lost.
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.
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Sleep Aids For Dementia Patients
Sleep inducing medications can cause negative side effects in dementia patients. These include worsened cognition and an increased risk of falling. Therefore, recommended sleep aids for people living with dementia are non-drug based and aim to improve sleep routine and the sleeping environment. You can find a full list of dementia products on our dementia products page.
Tips For Managing Dementia Wandering
The No. 1 priority is to keep your loved one safe, Hashmi says. He suggests the following actions:
- Secure all doors. Be especially vigilant about doors that lead outside.
- Use technology. Tracking devices and surveillance systems are widely available and affordable.
- Enlist a team. Neighborhood watch groups and local police are often happy to help keep an eye out for your loved one.
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Create A Daily Schedule
Your loved one could become frustrated, confused, and agitated trying to figure out daily tasks. However, having a regular schedule limits mistakes and gives your loved one a better chance of accomplishing goals with little or no help from family caregivers. Regular routines are also easier for seniors with dementia to follow.
Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Edmonton families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
My Dad Has Dementia And Is Moving Into Residential Care Are There Any Care Homes With Dementia Units
Yes, there are. These residential units will allow your dad to live in a home environment with the benefit of trained staff on hand to help care for him. It may also be worth considering finding a care home in the right location to enable friends and family to visit regularly. This may be more fitting for your dad and ease the transition.
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How Hospice Can Help With End
In addition to helping you in recognizing the signs of dying in the elderly with dementia, bringing in hospice care will help with the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Nurses will be able to adjust medication and care plans as the individuals needs change. Aides can help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care. Social workers can help organize resources for the patient and family. Chaplains and bereavement specials can help the family with any emotional or spiritual needs. Additionally, family members can contact hospice at any time, and do not need to wait until it is recommended by the patient’s physician.
To learn more about the criteria for hospice eligibility or to schedule a consultation, please contact Crossroads using the blue Help Center bar on this page for more information on how we can help provide support to individuals with dementia and their families.
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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How To Listen To Seniors With Alzheimers Or Dementia:
- Listen carefully to what the person is saying.
- Be patient and supportive. The person may need extra time to process what you said. Let the person know youre listening and trying to understand.
- Listen for clues. If the person has difficulty finding the right word or finishing a sentence, ask them to explain it in a different way.
- Remain sympathetic while listening. If the person is feeling sad, let them express their feelings without rushing or dismissing them. This will show that you care.
- After listening, get affirmation. When you havent understood fully, tell the person what you have understood and check with them to see if you are right. Repeat what was said if it helps to clarify the thought.
- Use your best judgement. Some people wont remember things such as their medical history, family, and friends. You will need to and act appropriately. For example, they might say that they have just eaten when you know they havent.
What Are The 10 Warning Signs Of Dementia
The 10 warning signs of dementia Sign 1: Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities. Sign 2: Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Sign 3: Problems with language. Sign 4: Disorientation in time and space. Sign 5: Impaired judgement. Sign 6: Problems with abstract thinking. Sign 7: Misplacing things.
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Do Not Engage In Arguments
One of the worst things a person can do to an individual who has dementia is to start an argument or even force them to do something that makes them upset or angry. When the discussion or argument is too heated, it may be better to walk away to create an environment where everyone can remain calm. Experts agree that one of the ways that can yield results when it comes to dementia behavior problems is to get rid of the word no when dealing with patients. Avoid forcibly restraining a dementia sufferer at all costs.
How To Choose Appropriate Activities For Dementia Patients
Along with the social components of caring for someone with dementia, it is important for the caregiver to be intimately aware of a broad range of contributing factors in determining what will be helpful in maintaining an engaged and fulfilling day for a loved one. Here are some guidelines to take into account:
- Abilities and skills. This is a broad topic, however, keeping track of how basic skills and abilities are deteriorating is vital. Is the person able to maintain their personal hygiene? Are they able to go to the grocery store and shop? Can they prepare a simple meal? Set the table? Clean up after a meal? Use a computer or phone? Are they having any trouble with tasks that have for the most part always been taken for granted?
With Elders Keep Communicating And Be Respectful
Always remember to treat a person with dementia with dignity and respect. Dont talk about them as if they are not there, or talk to them as you would to a young childand be very patient. Offer them ongoing comfort and reassurance, too. If he or she is having trouble communicating, let the person know that its okay. Encourage the person to continue to explain his or her thoughts, no matter what.
What Are Some Other Typical Dementia Behaviors
In addition to aggression, confusion, sleep problems and wandering, symptoms of dementia can also include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, apathy and sexual inappropriateness. And, behavioral dementia symptoms tend to occur more frequently as the dementia progresses.
Up to 90% of patients have one or more of these symptoms during the course of their disease, studies show. It is important to discuss all dementia symptoms with your loved ones physician to rule out or treat any medical conditions that could be causing the behavior.
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Do Keep Eye Contact When Speaking
Communicating with a dementia patient requires a lot of patience, especially during later stages of dementia. It is vital to ensure that you talk in a place that has good lighting, a place that is quiet and without too many distractions. Do not try and stand over the person you are talking to, but rather try to be at their level and keep eye contact at all times. Take care to make sure that body language is relaxed and open. Prepare to spend quality time with the person so that they do not feel rushed or like they are a bother.
Join A Support Group For Dementia Caregivers
Talking with others who are also caring for a loved one with dementia at home can also help you cope with caregiving.
Joining a memory care support group is a great way to:
- Get encouragement from others
- Enjoy social interaction with others in your position
If youre not sure how to find a support group, the Alzheimers Association website can help you get connected to online groups and resources in your community.
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Have Regular Family Meetings
Sit down on a regular basis to talk about how caregiving is impacting the family as a whole. Talk about the impact of the seniors condition on the family and address stress points and difficulties. Meet with a therapist or case manager if that will help to solve grievances.
Here are a few more ways to hold a successful meeting of the minds:
- Create an agenda for the meeting
- Try to stick to the facts rather than expressing personal opinions
- Following the meeting, send a summary to all interested parties
Ways Technology Can Help Seniors With Dementia
Technology has made lives easier in various forms. Whether its the ease of shopping, communicating, or working, technological advancements contributed vastly to ones daily activities. As dementia cases in seniors rise, you can also use technology to help your loved one through the process.
Digital advancements provide humans with the ability to live a simpler life. Although many seniors prefer old school methods over modern technology, some innovations can streamline their daily activities. Here are some ways you can leverage technology to help your loved one with dementia.
Consistent Communication with Cellphone
Whether your loved ones live in private dementia care homes or alone, they need to communicate with their family and friends constantly. Since it is not always possible for people to visit seniors in homes, cell phones make it easier to stay connected.
Although memory care homes like Sagecare feel like a big family, your loved one living there will still need to stay in touch with you. Teach your family members how to use a cellphone to feel less lonely while you feel peace of mind.
Apps for Memory-Related Games
Home Monitoring Devices
Some monitoring devices also have functions to change lights and thermostats, making simple tasks easier without stressing the seniors living there.
Alarms to Streamline Daily Activities
Robots for Home Cleaning
Music Apps to Enhance Memory
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Help Them Find Support
When a senior with dementia live alone, it can be challenging for them to stay happy. You can help your loved one by looking into private dementia care homes where people can surround them at all times. Along with high levels of nursing care, they will also meet new people and interact with other seniors. Any form of social interaction can help older adults feel connected, reducing their level of loneliness.
Retirement homes like Sagecare focus on providing specialized services to seniors with dementia. So, helping your loved ones find appropriate support enables them to reduce the risks of further health problems that loneliness can cause. Being surrounded by people and engaging in activities will help them keep their mind and body active, improving their health.
Finding Dementia Care And Local Services
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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.