Simple Ways To Help Someone With Dementia In The Short And Long Term Aaa
Dementia is one of the biggest health issues facing the entire world. There are over 5 million Americans living with dementia. The disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. In England, there are over 670,000 people living with dementia. Recently, Public Health England and Alzheimers Society have joined forces to help raise awareness of people living with this disease through their Dementia Friends campaign.
Celebrities are doing commercials urging friends to help those living with the disease and the campaign centers around simply understanding the disease and what you can do to help. One of the campaigns initiatives are giving ways in which someone can help a loved one living with the disease. Here are 5 simple ways one can help:
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Forgetting Names And Words
People with dementia may have difficulties finding the right word in a conversation. They might feel stuck because the word is on the tip of their tongue. They may confuse one word for another for example saying glue instead of shoe. They may also forget the meaning of certain words.
In a similar way, a person with dementia might forget peoples names, even those of friends or family members whom they have known for a long time and are close to.
These difficulties can make it harder to communicate with a person with dementia. However, there are a number of ways to support conversation.
Why Is It Important To Keep Dementia Patients Engaged In Daily Activities
A daily routine with healthy activities is important for seniors of any age and especially vital for dementia patients. As dementia worsens over time, the person will find it more difficult to focus and struggle to learn new things. Having a routine in place early on helps give them structure that they find familiar. Additional benefits of having a routine that incorporates engaging activities for a loved one with dementia include:
Take Steps To Avoid Agitation Stress And Conflict
Dementia impairs how effectively the brain handles stress and confusion. As often as possible, help set your loved one up for success by limiting situations that induce confrontation or unnecessary change.
“Tough conversations and circumstances will arise, but avoid needless conflict and try not to exacerbate small everyday issues,” says Dr. Wright. “Getting into an argument with your loved one isn’t fair to them, so it’s best to instead direct your energy toward diffusing these situations.”
In addition, know that confusion can be introduced by change in either routine or location.
“The brain likes patterns,” Dr. Wright recommends. “The more it recognizes its environment and schedule, the more optimally it can perform. It’s important to play toward this strength, not against it, while caring for someone with dementia.”
You can accomplish this by maintaining a normal routine as often as possible. In addition, avoid exposing your loved one to new environments frequently or haphazardly. Try to keep them in their usual environment as much as possible.
Should You Tell The Person They Have Alzheimer’s
Families may frequently ask, Should I tell the person that he/she has Alzheimer’s? Keep in mind that the patient and/or loved one can’t reason. They don’t have enough memory to remember the question, then think it through to form a conclusion. Caregivers and/or family members may often think if they tell the person with memory loss that he/she has Alzheimer’s, then he/she will understand and cooperate. You cant get cooperation by explaining that he/she has the disease and expect him/her to remember and use that information.
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Leave Your Medications In Plain View
- Leave your medications in a place you frequent, or a place that will act as a visual reminder for you to take them.
- For example, if you make coffee in the morning, leave your morning medications by the coffee machine. If you live with children, or if you have children visiting frequently, put the medications in a place where they cannot reach them.
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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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
Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia
As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.
In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.
Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.
Connecting in the late stages of care
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Helpful Routines And Reminders
Memory loss can be difficult to cope with and frustrating. However, there are strategies that you can use to help you manage your memory problems and help you stay independent for as long as possible.
The information on this page is also available in print-friendly PDFs:
You can also contact your Society for copies.
Helpful Daily Activities For Dementia Patients: 50 Expert Tips And Suggestions To Keep Your Loved One Engaged
Staying active and engaged is beneficial for both physical and cognitive health, so its particularly important for people with dementia or Alzheimers disease to engage in daily activities. Some activities have proven to be particularly helpful for those with dementia, such as games, exercise and outdoor activities, and music and art, as well as maintaining day-to-day routines. Providing structure and routine for a person living with dementia helps to maintain their cognitive function, sense of security, and can calm anxious or aggressive behaviors. It also helps provide a sense of control over their day and their environment, especially for those in the early stages of the disease. For those in the end stage of dementia, many of these activities are often one of the few ways they can still engage their memories and communicate.
To help you keep your loved one busy and actively engaged in meaningful activities, here are 50 tips from caregivers, memory care facility administrators, dementia and Alzheimers experts, and others who have experience in working with those living with dementia. Keep in mind that everyone enjoys different activities, and you should try the activities that best fit your loved ones personality, needs, and situation. These 50 helpful daily activities are not listed in order of importance, but they are categorized to help you quickly find the activities best suited for your loved one.
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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.
Music And Art Activities
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Activities For People With Alzheimers
This can include activities such as:
- Movie Night
- Pet, music and art therapy.
- Plant potting classes
- Baking Class
Because many people remember things in different ways some of these tips will be more effective than other for some people. Its important to try each method and determine which strategies are best for your individual needs. Keep in mind though, Alzheimers symptoms can progress or change over time, so something thats effective today might change in the future.
While dealing with progressive diseases such as Alzheimers or dementia can be difficult, these tips can help you remember what needs to be done and make it a little easier to keep track of your day to day tasks.
Coping With Changes In Behavior And Personality
As well as changes in communication during the middle stages of dementia, troubling behavior and personality changes can also occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.
Often, these behavioral issues are triggered or exacerbated by your loved ones inability to deal with stress, their frustrated attempts to communicate, or their environment. By making some simple changes, you can help ease your loved ones stress and improve their well-being, along with your own caregiving experience.
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Struggling To Recognise Faces
As the persons dementia progresses, they may begin to have difficulty recognising familiar faces, including their own reflection. This can make the person feel as though there are intruders in their home for example, if they see their reflection in a mirror and dont recognise themselves, or dont recognise friends who have come to visit.
People with dementia may also experience time-shifting. This is when the person believes that they are living at an earlier time in their life and that they are younger than they are now. They also expect the people around them to be younger as well. This can then lead to them mistaking younger relatives for people they know or used to know. For example, they may think that their child is their partner or that their brother or sister is their parent.
In the same way, when the person is time-shifted, they may not recognise their children. This could be because they dont believe that they are old enough to have children, especially adult children.
Not recognising familiar people can be distressing for both the person with dementia and those around them. It is important to try not to take it personally.
Even if the person doesnt seem to recognise those most familiar to them, they will still have an emotional attachment to those people and will still feel close to them. For example, they may not recognise that you are their child or partner, but they will know that you are a person who makes them feel safe or happy.
Things To Remember If You Love Someone With Dementia
20 Things to Remember If You Love Someone With Dementia
February 6, 2019
Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease is a difficult job, one that can cause caregivers a great amount of stress. However, if you love someone with dementia, you know that the position can also bring joy into your life and be extremely rewarding as well.
In honor of the upcoming Valentines Day holiday, here are 20 things to remember when caring for a loved one with dementia.
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Do Try To Be Pleasant
Caregivers are also humans who are prone to emotions like anger, stress, impatience, and irritation. Even when one goes through caregiver burnout, it is best that the patient does not get wind of it. It is better to step out of the room and try some breathing exercises to calm down before going back to deal with the dementia patient. Where possible, shelve the bad feelings and try and deal with them later. Dementia patients deal with a lot and they do not need more on their plate if they are to lead fulfilling and happy lives.
Why Asking Lots Of Questions May Not Work
Do you remember when? is the question many people might associate with reminiscing. However, it might not be the best starting point for a person with memory problems. Plain, factual questions can be particularly challenging and stressful for people with dementia, who may fear they will get the answer wrong or be embarrassed about not being able to remember. How many children did you have?, Where were you born?, How old were you when…? these are all examples of questions which a person with dementia may find hard to answer.
So what is the alternative to asking questions like this? A good starting point might be to share a memory yourself as a way of leading into asking a question more gently. This helps gives clues for the sorts of things you will talk about, and may help the person to relax and recall their memories more easily, without fear of mixing things up or forgetting. It could go like this: I remember my first primary school teacher. She was called Mrs Jones, she was very tall with long hair and she was very kind. You can then ask, I wonder if anyone here can remember their favourite teachers?
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself At Home
To make sure youâre safe and have what you need at home, put some of these measures in place early so they become routine:
- Look into getting help with things like shopping, housekeeping, meals , and transportation. The Area Agency on Aging or a local Alzheimerâs organization can recommend some services.
- Ask a neighbor you trust to keep a set of your house keys.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you organize your closets and drawers to make it easier to find things.
- Keep a list of important and emergency numbers by the phone.
- Have family, friends, or a community service program call or visit daily to make sure everything is OK.
- Ask someone to check your smoke alarm regularly.