How To Help A Person With Dementia Who Refuses To Accept Help
In the world, at least 50 million people live with dementia, and at least ten million new cases are diagnosed every year. Such disappointing statistics turn it into a global issue that needs attention.
A diagnosis of Alzheimers disease dramatically changes the life of both the person himself and his family members and friends, but information and support are available to everyone. No one should deal with Alzheimers disease or dementia alone.
We have collected the best tips on how to help a person with dementia. Continue reading to find out more!
Know What To Expect: The Changing Needs And Habits Of Someone With Dementia
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
- 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.
Spreading Care Models Through Technology
There are also efforts to spread innovative approaches to dementia care through technology. UCSFs Care Ecosystem a telephone and web-based support program that offers round-the-clock support, education, and remote monitoring via smartphones and home sensors is a deliberate attempt to scale dementia services by minimizing the need for in-person visits. At Eskenazi Health, Boustanis team plans to leverage artificial intelligence to help field questions from patients and families and provide information on demand. The Cleveland-based Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, a research and service organization that led some of the earliest research into family caregiving, has developed BRI Care Consultation, a personalized coaching program delivered by phone or email through which a nurse, social worker, or nonclinician helps people with dementia and their caregivers develop and execute action plans. One goal of the program is to empower caregivers to speak up, for example by making lists of topics theyd like to cover with their loved ones clinicians or by assigning particular tasks to friends and other family members. In use in 35 sites across the country, including Area Agencies on Aging, Alzheimers Associations, family counseling agencies, and a few health systems, the program has been associated with reduced emergency department use and hospitalizations among patients with various conditions, including dementia.18
Don’t Miss: Does Ted Turner Have Dementia
Activities And Games For Patients With Alzheimers Disease
As a caregiver of someone with Alzheimers, you can use games and activities to help stimulate their mind and senses.
Alzheimers disease is often known as the long goodbye not only because of its ability to affect someones cognitive and functional abilities, but also their emotions and moods, behaviour, and physical abilities, leaving behind a shell of a once-vital person that family and friends barely recognize. This can be tough to witness, but there are some ways you can continue to engage with the person in your care and spend quality time together.
Alzheimers disease affects everyone differently, so its often difficult to predict how it will progress, the symptoms , and the duration of each stage .
Since there is no cure, people with Alzheimers, and their caregivers, rely on treatment plans prescribed by the doctor, plus lifestyle changes to slow the progression of the disease.
Caring for someone with Alzheimers can be as rewarding as it can be emotionally and physically challenging.
Its difficult to watch someone you know struggling to perform everyday tasks and your natural reaction may be to just take over. However, research shows that people in the early stages of; Alzheimers can still acquire and process new information, helping them to learn or improve their performance on cognitive tasks, so its important to let them try the task themselves, as long as its safe for them to do so.
DementiAbility method activities
What you need for this activity:
Be Patient While Trying To Help Someonewith Dementia Not Eating
Trying to convince a person living with dementia who is at the point of not eating, that they must eat is counterproductive. Trying to explain why is also detrimental.
You need to be the food guide. Your role as the guide is to show this person how to eat each and every bite, just like its the first time they have ever eaten. Keep using strong eye contact and a nice big smile and not disrupt the person by talking.
It can be frustrating when you are trying to help someone and it is not working as effectively as you may hope. Its like teaching a child to tie their shoelaces, or of course, to eat their vegetables!
They will watch how you do it and slowly copy, but if you dont show them a demonstration they are not going to be able to learn. If you find yourself becoming agitated, take a deep breathe, and have another try.
If your relative with dementia becomes agitated or frustrated in the afternoon and evening, this may be due to ‘sundowning’. Find out more about what it is and how you can manage it from our sundowning guide.
Don’t Miss: How Common Is Alzheimer’s Disease In The Us
Deal With Personal Hygiene And Incontinence
Urinary tract infections, incontinence, constipation these are just some issues the elderly have to deal with. Add to that the tendency to forget the need to go to the toilet or even where the toilet actually is, and a person with dementia has even more trouble. Prominently signpost the toilet with a board of some kind, keep the door open for easy access, and ensure the person with dementia has clothes that are quickly removed using a zipper instead of buttons helps. When it comes to personal hygiene, the fear of falling or becoming disoriented might keep someone from washing regularly. Some patients may allow a caregiver to help with this or be present when they are bathing.14
How To Find Enriching Activities For Seniors With Dementia
Dementia caregivers often struggle to come up with activities that their loved ones want to participate in and that fit their ever-changing abilities. Keeping a loved one with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia entertained and engaged can be difficult, but it is crucial for their physical and emotional wellbeing. A few simple guidelines and a touch of creativity can help simplify this process.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Tested For Alzheimer’s Gene
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.
Purposeful Activities: Chapter Five
Chapter 5 provides practical examples of how to create meaningful activities based on knowledge of the persons interests, strengths and support needs. This knowledge can also be used to develop activities in social groups for people with dementia who share common interests. Intergenerational activities are highlighted as an example of an activity that provides opportunities for people with dementia to share their skills with children and maintain connections to the wider community.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Alzheimer’s And Dementia Naturally
Improve The Quality Of Life Of Persons With Dementia
Caring for persons with dementiaPersons with dementia enjoy some types of activities. They also like to do useful things.
What caregivers can do:;Add fun-filled and creative activities to the daily routine of someone with dementia. Help them think of pleasant memories from the past. Add activities they consider useful to the day. Encourage them to enjoy what they can still do. Share relaxed and happy moments together.
If persons with dementia get suitable surroundings, they can lead productive and satisfying lives for many years after the diagnosis. They are happier and less likely to get angry or show worrying behavior. The caregivers are also less stressed and can enjoy the company of the person.
Sections on this page:
Tips for the COVID situation
Robotic Pets Delight Patients With Dementia
They dont claw ya, you dont have to feed em, and they dont need kitty litter.
Wise words from Jackie Gale, a patient at Hamilton Health Sciences St. Peters Hospital . Shes referring to the hospitals new litter of robotic cats. The digital kitties are furry, but not too feistythe perfect temperament to put patients at ease.
When we found out about these robotic cats, we thought they would be great for our patients, says Jean Riley, a therapeutic recreationist on the Medically Complex unit at SPH. They have so many benefits.
Jean reached out to Hasbro, the toy company that makes the pets, to place an order, and it ended up donating a trio of cats to the unit. Since they arrived, theyve become very popular with patients and staff. Each cat is paired up with a patient for the duration of their stay in the hospital.
Read Also: Does Meredith Grey Have Alzheimer’s
Indoor Vs Outdoor Activities For Loved Ones With Alzheimers
Another way activities can be differentiated is whether they take place indoors or outdoors. Several factors may influence whether you want to plan an activity indoors or outdoors, including physical limitations, risk of wandering, time of the year, weather that day, and transportation. While it may sometimes be safer to plan an indoor activity, there are also advantages to getting outdoors on nice days. For example, there are benefits of getting sun and fresh air including Vitamin D, which has been shown to positively influence mood. Spending time outdoors can also help us relax and experience lower levels of depression and anxiety. Getting outside of the house on a pleasant day may also means increased social interaction, an important aspect of life that often suffers when people have dementia.
Dementia Activity Calendar
When planning activities, make sure to plan ahead so that your loved one is not surprised or caught off guard. It can also be helpful to lay out all the weekly activities on a calendar that you can place on the fridge or somewhere else they can easily see. Remember, the anticipation of the activity can be just as rewarding as the activity itself.
Dont Forget To Care For Yourself Too
Joining a carers group can be a good way for you to find people who truly relate to the situation you are in. It is a good place to share and talk it out or learn coping mechanisms others use to care for those with dementia. Social services or a dementia adviser or counselor can direct you to a local group. Alternatively, there are plenty of online support groups you could consider joining.17
When you are close to someone with dementia you may find yourself asking why me. You may also get upset, angry, or frustrated, and possibly even feel guilty about thinking this way. At times, you may feel you are losing the love or affection you have for that person as these emotions take control. On the flip side, you may also feel guilty for taking time out to do something for yourself, or about losing your temper at them or not being kind enough. Dont beat yourself up about it. This is as hard on you as it is on the person you love who has dementia. And you need downtime too. Some of these things could help:18
Read Also: How To Deal With Someone With Dementia
Causes Of Challenging Behaviors In Bathing
When a person is combative or resistive with a bath or a shower, there can be many causes for her behavior. Here are a few possible ones:
- Embarrassment: If a person is concerned about privacy, bathing with someone else present could make him feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed.
- Fear of Water: Some people are afraid of water, whether it’s due to some traumatic incident or just increased anxiety. Others react negatively especially to a shower since they may have always grown up with the routine of a bath.
- Lack of Understanding: A person with middle or later stage dementia might not understand why you’re present, why you’re trying to take her clothes off or why she needs to be in the water and be washed. Understandably, this often causes significant resistance.
Occasionally, the person with dementia may become sexually inappropriate during bathing because he does not understand why you are assisting him. If he misinterprets your help, don’t yell at him. Simply explain: “Mr. Smith, I’m a nurses’ aide and I’m here to help you bathe today. Your wife will be here soon to visit you.”
Try Some Of These Best Foods For Dementia Patients To Eat
There are lots of fads and daily news on the latest food to help slow down dementia. Advice from the Alzheimers Society and other expert dementia organisations is clear:; there are foods that can help reduce some of the symptoms, but mostly its common sense. A healthy balanced diet with treats in moderation of course. Some suggestions include:
Read Also: What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease In The Brain
Help The Person With Dementia Feel Safe And Comfortable
Adapt the home and adjust the daily routine of the person with dementia so that the person is comfortable and safe. Change how you interact with the person to reduce the frustration the person feels because of the growing dementia problems.
Try to reduce any confusion the dementia person has about the time and space. This can be done using various reality orientation techniques. Help the person have a suitable daily routine that is predictable; most persons with dementia find a day with routines easier to handle than a day full of surprises. Use suitable ways to talk to the persons so that you understand them and they understand you. When helping them, give just the right amount of help so that they feel capable and independent to the extent possible, remain safe, and dont get frustrated.
Purposeful Activities: Chapter Three
In Chapter 3, viewers are encouraged to offer opportunities for purposeful engagement based on the persons strengths rather than what the person can no longer do. Self-esteem, identity and dignity are supported through activities in which the person is likely to succeed. Simple ways for assessing strengths are suggested under four categories of ability: sensory, motor, cognitive, and social.
Read Also: What Diseases Are Similar To Alzheimer’s
Decide On Future Financial And Medical Plans With The Patient
It is important to get clarity on how to cope as time progresses and the dementia worsens. You should have clear plans worked out on who will manage the banking and financial affairs of the individual. Share your number with the utility company, informing them of the condition of your loved one, so that power supply or heating isnt cut off if they forget to pay their bills. Also do the difficult task of discussing which medical treatments they would prefer not to be subjected to, should the need arise at a future date.15 This legal document is known as an advance care directive and details what health decisions can be made on their behalf if they are no longer capable of doing so.16
Practical Tips To Help Someone With Dementia To Eat More
People living with;Alzheimers or dementia;often eat less than they used to. ;This can be due to medical problems associated with chewing, swallowing or digesting food.;
Sometimes people just lose interest in food. This can happen for a long list of reasons including loss of taste, the ability to smell, memory loss, and thinking they have already eaten.; Certain medications can also affect appetite.
The ability and want to eat tends to get worse as the disease progresses and ensuring someone living with dementia eats a nutritious meal, or eats enough, can become a real practical and emotional issue for the carer. We have compiled a list here of 8 practical tips for helping someone with dementia to eat more.
You May Like: How Fast Does Dementia Kill
Things Not To Say To Someone With Dementia
Speaking to an elderly loved one with dementia can be difficult and emotionally draining. Alzheimers and dementia can lead to conversations that dont make sense, are inappropriate or uncomfortable, and may upset a family caregiver. However, over time, its important to adapt to the seniors behavior, and understand that their condition doesnt change who they are.
For senior caregivers, its important to always respond with patience. Here are some things to remember not to say to someone with dementia, and what you can say instead.
1. Youre wrong
For experienced caregivers, this one may seem evident. However, for someone who hasnt dealt with loss of cognitive function before, it can be hard to go along with something a loved one says that clearly isnt true. Theres no benefit to arguing, though, and its best to avoid upsetting a senior with dementia, who is already in a vulnerable emotional state due to confusion.
Instead, change the subject.
Its best to distract, not disagree. If an elderly loved one makes a wrong comment, dont try to fight them on it; just change the subject and talk about something else ideally, something pleasant, to change their focus. There are plenty of things not to say to someone with dementia, but if theres one to remember, its anything that sounds like youre wrong.
2. Do you remember?
Instead, say: I remember
3. They passed away.
4. I told you
Instead, repeat what you said.