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?
Its Not Easy Caring For Loved Ones With Dementia
Preventing and responding to agitation in dementia patients can feel overwhelming and stressful. But, you dont have to go at it alone. Join communities of people who are facing the same challenges to find more resources, ask questions, and receive emotional support from people who thoroughly empathize with your situation. Also, make sure youre not sacrificing your self-care to take care of your loved one. To be able to help them, you must maintain your personal balance and find time for you. Only by taking care of yourself first can you be in the best position physically, mentally, and emotionally to help others.
Faqs About Dementia Sleep Problems
Caring for a patient with dementia and sleep problems is hard work. When the dementia patient is not sleeping well, it is very easy to become exhausted yourself. To give the best care, the carer needs to look after themselves. In addition to the following questions that some people have asked regarding how to get dementia patients to sleep at night, you should visit our guide on caring for someone with dementia.
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What Can You Do To Help Dementia Patients Sleep Better At Night
Sleep disturbances are common in dementia patients. Some studies report that as much as 20 percent of Alzheimers patients start getting agitated, anxious, and confused at nightfall. Others may become restless or have changes in sleep patterns. Below are some suggestions to help agitated dementia patients have an easier time getting restful sleep.
- Speak to a doctor: Health care physicians should always be your first stop when you have questions regarding medical conditions or are looking for credible, science-backed information. Theyll let you know about helpful prescriptions and over the counter remedies, as well as other things to do at home.
- Keep the lights on: A well-lit home in the evening can make loved ones feel less agitated because they can see and recognize their surroundings.
- Develop a nightly routine: Having a predictable nightly routine cues dementia patients that bedtime is coming. Their body can then prepare as well by lowering cortisol levels and ramping up melatonin production. An equally important part of winding down is avoiding stimulants and stimulating activities after sunset. If your loved one is sensitive to caffeine, consider restricting coffee morning hours.
- Tire them out: People who spend most of the day resting wont feel tired at night. This can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Encouraging more physical activity and discouraging napping can ensure dementia patients are ready for sleep at bedtime.
Repetitive Speech Or Actions
People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.
- Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
- Try distracting with a snack or activity.
- Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
- Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
- You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
- Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.
Schedule An Appointment With A Physician
Medications have side effects and can interact with one another to bring a new set of issues. Review all prescription and non-prescription drugsincluding vitamins and supplements, with your loved ones doctor to make sure that none of them are causing distress.
You can also ask the doctor if current pain management protocols need adjusting. Go through all chronic conditions to ensure theyre well managed. Also, discuss with health care providers if your loved one may have depression, as many seniors with dementia do.
If non-drug-related techniques havent worked well to control agitation or screaming episodes, now is also the time to ask about behavioral medications you can experiment with. They can make a drastic difference in your loved ones quality of life.
Ten Tips For Protecting A Loved One With Dementia
1. Assess and reassess.
Abilities vary greatly among people with dementia and can disappear suddenly. Regularly reevaluate balance, coordination, strength and the ability to sit, stand and walk with or without assistance. Add more safety features as needed. Writing your observations in a notebook or on your phone will help you keep track. Report changes to the doctor.
2. Designate a danger zone.
People with dementia forget the purpose of things and how to use them. They may think wiper fluid is juice or be unaware that the grill is hot. To make the home safer, turn the garage, workroom, closet, outdoor shed, recycled TV armoire or a large cabinet into a storage place for:
- cleaning products
- sharp knives, scissors, box cutters, blades
- tobacco products, including chewing tobacco
- hand and power tools
Install key or combination locks on rooms and other storage places containing potentially dangerous items. In addition, use childproof doorknob covers or cabinet locks.
3.Secure household items. Use childproof locks on drawers and cabinets containing:
- electric appliances including food processors, blenders, plug-in frying pans and kitchen grills, coffee makers, toasters, space heaters, hair dryers, iron, vaporizers, curling irons
- kitchen knives
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Paying For Alzheimers Care Overview
Alzheimers disease, Lewy Body dementia, Frontotemporal dementia , and other related memory disorders and dementia affect over 5.5 million aging Americans. Depending on the stage of these diseases, individuals can require 24-hour supervision or care. This means each year in the U.S., there are billions of hours spent caring for individuals with these conditions. While the vast majority of that care is provided by friends and family members, what happens when those caregivers are not available? Who pays for Alzheimers care? Fortunately, there are many programs that provide financial assistance, respite care, and other forms of aid to help families and caregivers.
The worldwide cost of dementia care is approximately 1 trillion U.S. dollars. If dementia care were a country, it would be the worlds 17th largest economy.
Use Visual Cues For Reorientation
People who have Alzheimers often forget where they are, even inside their own homes. Visual reminders can provide clues and trigger memories that help reorient dementia patients to their surroundings. For example, post descriptive photos on the doors to various rooms, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Another approach is to post stop signs for dementia patients on doors that they shouldnt open or areas of the home that would be dangerous for them to gain access to.
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Emergencies: What To Do If Your Loved One Wanders
If your efforts to prevent wandering havenât worked and your loved one has gone off, what should you do? Your natural reaction will probably be to run outside and frantically search in any direction.
But experts say the first thing you should do is call 911 to alert authorities. If your loved one is registered with organizations like Project Lifesaver or the Alzheimerâs Association Safe Return program, you can call them, too. Once youâve done that, you can start looking yourself.
Geraldine Dawson, PhD, chief science officer, Autism Speaks research professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beth Kallmyer, director of client services for the national office, Alzheimer’s Association, Chicago.
Alzheimerâs Association: âMedicAlert and Safe Return,â âWandering.â
AlzOnline: âWandering and Dementia.â
Down Syndrome Association of Queensland Inc: âStrategies for Children with Down Syndrome Who Wander.â
National Sleep Foundation: âSleep and Alzheimerâs Disease.â
Pathfinders for Autism: âPlan Your Response to an Autism Emergency.â
Project Lifesaver International: âHow it works.â
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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Professional Help With Dementia Sleep Issues
Dementia is a disease that commonly affects an elderly adults sleep cycle. Experts still dont know precisely why dementia patients dont sleep but believe its linked to brain alterations. Other dementia sleep issues like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can also make it difficult for loved ones with dementia to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
If your loved one with dementia struggles with sleep and youre wondering how to keep dementia patients in bed at night, you may want to try:
- Keeping them on a consistent schedule
- Ensuring they exercise regularly
- Creating a calming nighttime routine
Theres also overnight dementia care for family caregivers looking for professional, hands-on assistance.
Stowell Associates in Wisconsin is a premier in-home dementia care provider. We train and equip both our Care Managers and Caregivers to handle the demands of dementia care. With our 24-hour care service, your loved one will receive the best care during the day and nighttime hours. It will also provide you with peace of mind knowing your loved one is receiving the care they need.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor. Theyll help you better understand all the benefits of full-time dementia care.
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Best Door Locks For Dementia Patients
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Do you live with a family member with Dementia?
Its time you made certain changes in your home for the safety of your loved one. You can begin by sealing off the entry points to the attic, loft, utility room, backyard, spare room, gym, and more. I would love to share some of the best door locks for dementia with you.
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Cope With Changes In Communication
As your loved ones Alzheimers or dementia progresses, youll notice changes in how they communicate. They may have trouble finding words, substitute one word for another, repeat the same things over and over, or become easily confused. Increased hand gestures, losing their train of thought, and even inappropriate outbursts are all common as well.
Even if your loved one has trouble maintaining a conversationor less interest in starting oneits important to encourage social interaction. Making them feel safe rather than stressed will make communication easier, so try to manage your own frustration levels.
Be patient. If your loved one has difficulty recalling a word, for example, allow them time. Getting anxious or impatient will only inhibit their recall. Gently supply the word or tell the person that you can come back to it later.
Be aware of your body language. Your loved one responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and nonverbal cues as much as the words you choose. Make eye contact, stay calm, and keep a relaxed, open posture.
Speak slowly and clearly. Give one direction or ask one question at a time, use short sentences, and give your loved one more time to process whats being said. Find a simpler way to say the same thing if it wasnt understood the first time.
Maintain respect. Dont use patronizing language, baby talk, or sarcasm. It can cause hurt or confusion.
What To Do If The Person Disappears When Walking About
If the person with dementia disappears when walking about, try to stay calm. You can try the following:
- If you cant find the person, tell the local police. Keep a recent photograph of the person to help the police identify them.
- Consider taking part in the Herbert Protocol a national scheme that encourages carers to compile useful information that can be used if a vulnerable person later goes missing. The Herbert Protocol is used by about 70% of police services across England and Wales and an online version of the Protocol is being considered. Contact your local police station for more information.
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How Can You Prevent Agitation In Dementia Patients Now
The most significant factor in preventing agitation in dementia patients is to keep their internal and external environment calm. To help them feel at peace, you can:
- Design a serene environment: Soothing rituals can help dementia sufferers relax and feel less anxiety. Removing stressors and triggers can also help. You can try moving them to a quieter environment, letting them get some rest if theyre tired, and giving them more privacy.
- Stick to a routine: Bathing, eating, dressing, and taking medication at the same time every day establishes order in a world thats confusing for them.
- Give them a comfort object: These security objects help dementia patients in the same way they provide comfort for children and adults. Children often have a blanket that soothes them, or adults may have a lucky clothing item they wear that gives them confidence and reduces anxiety when facing challenges. Comfort objects for dementia patients can also be something beloved from their childhood, such as a teddy bear, or something else they may have positive emotional attachments toeven if they cant remember why.
- Be aware of their comfort levels: At set intervals, check in with your loved one to make sure they arent hungry, thirsty, too hot or cold, or need to use the bathroom. On occasion, see if they have any skin irritations or infections. Also, try being mindful if they seem fearful of misperceived threats or frustrated by not being able to express themselves.
Tips For Everyday Care For People With Dementia
Early on in Alzheimers and related dementias, people experience changes in thinking, remembering, and reasoning in a way that affects daily life and activities. Eventually, people with these diseases will need more help with simple, everyday tasks. This may include bathing, grooming, and dressing. It may be upsetting to the person to need help with such personal activities. Here are a few tips to consider early on and as the disease progresses:
- Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
- Help the person write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar.
- Plan activities that the person enjoys and try to do them at the same time each day.
- Consider a system or reminders for helping those who must take medications regularly.
- When dressing or bathing, allow the person to do as much as possible.
- Buy loose-fitting, comfortable, easy-to-use clothing, such as clothes with elastic waistbands, fabric fasteners, or large zipper pulls instead of shoelaces, buttons, or buckles.
- Use a sturdy shower chair to support a person who is unsteady and to prevent falls. You can buy shower chairs at drug stores and medical supply stores.
- Be gentle and respectful. Tell the person what you are going to do, step by step while you help them bathe or get dressed.
- Serve meals in a consistent, familiar place and give the person enough time to eat.
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Moving To A Care Home
If the persons needs become too great for you to manage at home, you may need to consider other long-term options. If youre becoming exhausted or the person with dementia is becoming harder to care for, a care home might be the best option for you both.
A move to a care home can be a difficult decision, but there are limits to the care you can provide.
If the person you care for is moving into a care home, familiar furniture, belongings or music can help them feel more settled.
Tips For Patients & Their Families From Homewatch Caregivers
One of the symptoms of dementia is someones inability to maintain their own living environment as they did in the past. A family member who is acting as a caregiver may notice that their loved one with dementia is no longer keeping the yard tidy or the house neat. The reasons for this change can be that the memory loss makes it increasingly difficult for the person with dementia to stay focused on a task from beginning to end, or it may physically exhaust or overwhelm them to rake the yard or vacuum.
However, our in-home care team can carefully plan a simple daily chore routine that can help ease the anxieties of the person with dementia.
The first step is for us to determine which chores the person with dementia is still capable of doingperhaps sweeping instead of vacuuming or folding laundry rather than putting away glassware. This is especially key in preventing a person living with dementia from experiencing a dangerous fall. Taking over the more strenuous or hazardous activities can keep them safer.
Also, engaging with these easy tasks near the end of the day can be relaxing and help your loved one to expand their energy in a controlled way that distracts them from anxiety. The physical exertion of folding laundry or dusting during the day can promote a good nights sleep.
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