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How To Help Someone With Early Dementia

Do Offer Assurance Often

An insider’s perspective on what you can do to help a person with dementia – with Christine Bryden

Many times, people with dementia may experience feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or confusion. They may not be able to express this in the right way and thus may wander off or keep saying that they want to go back home, especially if they are in a senior living facility. This is not the time to shut them out. Its a good idea to assure them that they are safe and in a good place.

If you are close enough, provide a comforting hug every once in a while and remind them that they are in a place that has their best interest at heart. Where possible, engage in exercise or take a walk as even light physical activity may help to reduce agitation, restlessness and anxiety.

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. Talking to the person you care for about stopping driving can be very sensitive.

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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What Are The Symptoms Of Early

For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.

Early symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from work and social situations

  • Changes in mood and personality

Later symptoms:

  • Severe mood swings and behavior changes

  • Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events

  • Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers

  • Trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking

  • Severe memory loss

Know What To Expect: The Changing Needs And Habits Of Someone With Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia : ND Social Care

If someone has dementia, you might at first assume it may only impact their ability to remember things or learn. But this has more far-reaching impact than youd imagine. As the illness progresses, you may notice changes in these areas:3

  • Communication
  • Eating patterns, likes, and dislikes
  • Continence or ability to control when they answer natures call
  • Sleeping habits

While this can be unnerving, it is something that can be managed with awareness, practice, and the right help. What follows are some guidelines and tips that could make the experience of caring for a loved one with dementia a little easier on you and them.

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Dont Talk Down To Them

Caregivers and/or family members should never talk down to the individual with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, and this especially includes baby talk, which doesn’t work neurologically . The fact that the patient and/or loved one is having problems with language does not mean that talking to them like a four-year-old is going to help. The communication style should still be to a respected, older adult.

When A Parent Begins To Exhibit Early Signs Of Dementia Or Alzeimers Its Difficult For Families To Address It These Tips Will Make The Process Easier

Mom was always scatterbrained, but shes been acting different lately. She isnt just leaving her car keys in the fridge or searching the house for the eyeglasses that were on her head the whole time. Her lapses are moving into less cute territory, like needing help remembering her grandchildren. You suspect shes exhibiting early signs of dementia. Alzheimers, maybe.

You dont think this lightly. And, like most people, you have no idea how to talk about it. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Professor and Penn Memory Center co-director Jason Karlawish says that because theres high-octane stigma surrounding Alzheimers disease, its difficult for families to address dementia when they suspect it.

Once theres stigma surrounding the disease, it limits peoples desire to find out if theres a problem and if they might have it or even just talk about it, Karlawish, one of the worlds foremost authorities on dementia, said. Proof: In a recent Alzheimers Association survey, nearly three quarters of Americans said it would be challenging to discuss this issue with a loved one.

Its understandable that many families are reluctant to express their concerns and initiate a conversation, but there are good reasons to do so, Drew said. Early detection and diagnosis puts individuals and families in the best position to navigate a devastating disease. Avoiding the conversation and letting problems progress is the worst thing you can do.

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Dont Say No Dont Or Cant

One of the biggest mistakes in dealing with patients and/or loved ones with memory loss is being negative and telling them that they cant do something. Words like no,” don’t, or can’t create resistance. This comes up regularly with family members when the patient and/or loved one might be still driving, and the caregiver and/or family member has made the decision to stop them from driving. One should never say, You can’t drive anymore. They can still technically drive , and they can get very combative when told no. A way to counter this is to say, I know you still can drive, that’s not even a question, but you know what happened the other day? I was out on the highway and this car cut me off, and I had to make a split-second decision it was really scary Its likely they will say, You know what? I’m having a little trouble with those decisions too. The issue isn’t the mechanical driving, it has more to do with comprehension, and many times this answer works much better than, You can’t drive anymore, which can be construed as confrontational.

You may find a patient and/or loved one up too early or confused about time. Instead of using messages such as, Youre up too early, you need to go to bed, try leading with statements such as, You know, I’m getting sleepy. Id like a little snack before I go to bed, and then gesture for the patient and/or loved one to sit with you.

How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems

Caregiver Training: Communicating with A Client with Dementia (Early Stage) | CareAcademy
  • How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts

Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.

You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.

In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.

Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.

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Sleep Tips For People Living With Dementia

Dementia often changes a persons sleeping habits. You may sleep a lot, or not enough, and wake up many times during the night. Poor sleep quality can make dementia symptoms worse.

Tips for better and safer sleep:

  • Follow a regular schedule by going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when traveling.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine with lowered lights, cool temperature, and no electronic screens.
  • Avoid caffeine and naps late in the day.
  • Have a lamp thats easy to reach and turn on, a nightlight in the hallway or bathroom, and a flashlight nearby.
  • Keep a telephone with emergency numbers by your bed.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have problems sleeping.

These Signs May Indicate Early Dementia Or Alzheimers Disease

More work also needs to be done to encourage people who are experiencing new or worsening symptoms to get them checked out.

Some people, particularly those with lower education levels, may not see a doctor until its too late for them to plan ahead financially or be in a position to make decisions for themselves.

It will go unrecognized for so long because either these groups dont recognize the symptoms or they think the symptoms they are displaying are just a normal part of aging, Barnes said. They may not present to medical care until very late in the disease when other clinical problems manifest.

Part of the solution is raising awareness about the disease and addressing the negative stigmas about Alzheimers in these communities, Barnes said. And from the research and clinical trial side, Barnes suggests adding people from more diverse backgrounds so they can understand whether Alzheimers presents differently in these groups, or if it is largely the same across races.

Only 3% of clinical trials for Alzheimers include Black people, according to Stephanie Monroe, executive director of African Americans Against Alzheimers, in a Genentech LinkedIn webinar on World Alzheimers Day in September.

Finding solutions and changing economic models in order to get an Alzheimers diagnosis and quality care is just one part of a multistep approach to combat the costly disease. Next is getting a treatment that stops the disease before it progresses beyond control.

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Take Care Of Yourself

Your help is really important to your loved one’s quality of life. But it’s a lot to take on. You’ll probably feel anxious, depressed, and even angry sometimes. A person with dementia often needs long hours of care and a lot of monitoring, which can make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s OK to feel this way. Many caregivers do.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Here are some tips to relieve your stress:

  • Be realistic. Accept that you can’t do it all alone and that it’s OK to ask for help or say yes when someone offers. It’s also fine to say no.
  • Don’t quit your job until your loved one has a definitive diagnosis and you’ve fully explored any employee benefits. This helps keep income flowing and relieves stress about lack of funds, at least temporarily. Talk to your boss about flex options, like telecommuting.
  • Stay informed. Learn all you can about early-onset dementia and how it can affect your family’s life. You’ll be better prepared for future changes.
  • Talk to others. Get support from family and close friends. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Sharing your emotions and journey can be helpful. Caregiver support groups are available and may be a safe place for you to discuss your feelings and unwind.
  • Walk it off. Exercise is a great stress reliever. It will help you sleep better, think better, and have more energy.

Do Make Sure That The Dementia Patient Gets Enough Rest Food And Water

About Dementia

Fatigue, hunger and thirst may cause combativeness. Ensure that the person with dementia is well fed, hydrates enough, and gets adequate sleep and rest. In line with this, they should also have enough bathroom breaks. Research also shows that it may help to reduce loud noises as well as clutter in the space where the patient spends most of his/her time, as both loud noises and clutter tend to over-stimulate people with dementia.

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Make The Move Seamless

Packing and the move itself can be very distressing for someone with dementia. There are some ways to ensure that things go well.

  • Arrange for packing of all belongings without your parent present.
  • When the move occurs, take your parent out for the day to a park or lunch. Think of anything that is pleasant and distracting.
  • Ask another family member to unpack and place everything before your parent returns. This might seem like a lot to do, but if the whole sequence of events is tightly scheduled, it can work.
  • When you bring your parent back to assisted living, their room with all of their familiar items is organized and put away.

Pandemics Impact On Care And Diagnosis

COVID-19 has, in a way, brought a silver lining to dementia care. The virtual model has closed the distance to brick-and-mortar clinics, especially those in rural areas.

Memory Care did a number of virtual outreach and education events during the pandemic for the western North Carolina region, including a community caregiver conference, an adult exercise program, Caregiver College, and a series of caregiver education seminars.

And a fifth of the hours available for appointments at Memory Care were done in a telehealth setting, according to its annual report.

The Alzheimers Association also is pursuing virtual learning for caregivers and doctors, though on a larger scale. It is using Project ECHO, a University of New Mexico initiative that provides expert knowledge to underserved communities in health, education, and civics through telementoring and knowledge sharing, to help disseminate more information on dementia care, and thus improve the diagnosis process.

In Project ECHO, a group of specialists in the dementia community such as neurologists, geriatricians, doctorate-level social workers, and geriatric psychiatrists educate primary care doctors and nurses about dementia through a case-based learning model via Zoom. The learners, as they are called by Daven, of the Alzheimers Association, see a real de-identified dementia case and are tasked with putting what they learned in the teaching sessions to the test.

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Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia

On this page

A caregiver, sometimes referred to as a caretaker, refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Millions of people living in the United States take care of a friend or family member with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the person or nearby, other times they live far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia isnt just one persons job, but the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. No matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can be overwhelming at times. These tips and suggestions may help with everyday care and tasks.

Brown University To Focus On Early Diagnosis Treatment

Persuading a person with dementia to accept help

People who are in the last stages of life need a multidisciplinary, time-intensive model to die well, Noel said in a video interview with Alzheimers News Today. People with dementia need a multidisciplinary, time-intensive model to live well.

Primary care doctors and neurologists, many of whom are not trained in geriatric medicine or dementia, for that matter are up against time restraints. In her center, Noel has made it a priority to facilitate quality care that allows physicians time to address a patients needs.

If I needed to practice within the time constraints of the traditional model, I could not give good care to people living with dementia, Noel said. I really had to blow that apart, in order to create a program where both the families get what they need and patients get what they need.

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Dont Counter Aggressive Behavior

People with dementia and/or Alzheimers may become aggressive in response to the environment. Bath time is often when the aggressive behavior is displayed. The caregivers and/or family members approach may also play a part. Rushing, speaking harshly, or forcing a person may result in an aggressive response. When someone with memory loss displays aggressive behavior, it is a form of communication. It may be the only way a person has left to say, Pay attention to me! I dont want to take a bath! When someone is communicating vigorously, it is the caregivers and/or family members job to respect that communication. Hitting, kicking, or biting are ways of saying, stop. The appropriate response is to stop. That doesnt mean not to try again in five minutes or a half an hour.

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.

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