Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
Make Time For Reflection
At each new stage of dementia, you have to alter your expectations about what your loved one is capable of. By accepting each new reality and taking time to reflect on these changes, you can better cope with the emotional loss and find greater satisfaction in your caregiving role.
Keep a daily journal to record and reflect on your experiences. By writing down your thoughts, you can mourn losses, celebrate successes, and challenge negative thought patterns that impact your mood and outlook.
Count your blessings. It may sound counterintuitive in the midst of such challenges, but keeping a daily gratitude list can help chase away the blues. It can also help you focus on what your loved one is still capable of, rather than the abilities theyve lost.
Value what is possible. In the middle stages of dementia, your loved one still has many abilities. Structure activities to invite their participation on whatever level is possible. By valuing what your loved one is able to give, you can find pleasure and satisfaction on even the toughest days.
Improve your emotional awareness. Remaining engaged, focused, and calm in the midst of such tremendous responsibility can challenge even the most capable caregivers. By developing your emotional awareness skills, however, you can relieve stress, experience positive emotions, and bring new peace and clarity to your caretaking role.
Looking After A Loved One With Dementia Or Alzheimers Yourself
Patience and flexibility are key to looking after someone with dementia or Alzheimers.;Caregiving;is a huge responsibility, and youll also need to be in relatively good health yourself in order to take this on. The first thing youll need to do is establish a daily routine and involve them with this. Allow them to take their time and recognize when theyll need breaks.
Its important to give them a few choices without them feeling overwhelmed or too confused to make a decision. Provide simple instructions for them to follow, and reduce distractions whenever theyre doing something to limit distress. Another important thing to do is limit daytime napping so they dont become confused with day and night.
Youll notice your loved one becoming more dependent as their disease progresses. When this happens, its important to remain patient, gentle, and flexible. Itll be as overwhelming to them as it will be to you. Consider their safety, perhaps installing rails and limiting anything that could cause them to trip or fall, like rugs or mats.;
Check the water temperature on your thermostat to avoid scalds, and take relevant fire precautions, such as hiding matches and lighters and have an extinguisher. Also, consider having cupboards where anything hazardous is kept under lock and key, as well as ensuring any exit doors dont have locks that can be undone to open them.
Featured Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash
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.
Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia
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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.
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Warning Signs Of Wandering In Seniors With Dementia
Wandering and getting lost is common among people with dementia, and can happen during any stage of the disease.;Be on the lookout for the following warning signs:
- Returning from a routine walk or drive later than usual
- Wanting to go home, or to work, even when at home or not employed
- Paces, shows anxiety, or makes repetitive movements
- Having difficulty finding familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom, or other rooms in the house
- Asking about the whereabouts of current or past friends and family
- Appearing lost in a new or changed environment
- Setting out to do regular tasks, but accomplishes nothing
Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Effects Of Dementia On Caregivers
Caregivers face many obstacles as they balance caregiving with other demands, including child rearing, career, and relationships. They are at increased risk for burden, stress, depression, and a variety of other health complications. The effects on caregivers are diverse and complex, and there are many other factors that may exacerbate or ameliorate how caregivers react and feel as a result of their role. Numerous studies report that caring for a person with dementia is more stressful than caring for a person with a physical disability.,,
Two models of factors leading to caregiver stress are useful. In the Poulshock and Deimling model, dementia leads to a burden of care which can manifest as strain in a number of ways that can be exacerbated or ameliorated Pearlin and colleagues’ model of caregiver stress outlines four main areas that contribute to caregiver stress: the background context , the primary stressors of the illness , secondary role strains , and intrapsychic strains such as personality, competence, and role captivity of the caregiver ., In Campbell and colleagues’ review of the model, the strongest predictors of caregiver burden were sense of role captivity , caregiver overload , adverse life events outside of the caregiving role and relationship quality.
Dementia Causes Loss Of Cognitive And Behavioral Function
Dementia is the term used to describe the loss of both cognitive and behavioral functions, typically in the elderly. It can impact not just the ability to remember, reason, and think, but also things like problem-solving capability, visual perception, ability to manage ones own life, and even behavior and personality due to lack of control on emotions. While some amount of nerve loss in the brain is normal as one grows older, if you have dementia this happens at a far greater rate and to a greater extent.2
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?
The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care
Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.
As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.
For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.
Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.
Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.
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Planning For The Future: Tips For Caregivers
Making health care decisions for someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. Thats why it is important to plan health care directives in advance. To help plan for the future, you can:
- Start discussions early with your loved one so they can be involved in the decision-making process.
- Get permission in advance to talk to the doctor or lawyer of the person youre caring for, as needed. There may be questions about care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without consent, you may not be able to get needed information.
- Consider legal and financial matters, options for in-home care, long-term care, and funeral and burial arrangements.
Learning about your loved ones disease will help you know what to expect as the dementia progresses and what you can do.
Create A Calm Environment
It can be difficult to care for another person in a chaotic environment. Cluttered countertops, piles of laundry, and a sink full of dishes can bring unnecessary stress to your life. By creating a calm environment, you can benefit yourself and your loved one. Take just five minutes a few times a day to tidy up. Create a pleasing scent with fresh flowers or a diffuser. Instead of having the television as background noise, play some soothing music. When it comes to décor, opt for calm, neutral colors instead of bright hues and busy patterns.
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Limit Daytime Sleeping And Keep The Person With Dementia Active
Daytime napping tends to reduce the likelihood of sleeping at night. People with dementia may sleep more during the day because they are bored, inactive or didn’t sleep at night. A good way to help is therefore to keep the person active and stop them from sleeping during the day. This would be easier if you had access to a day centre where staff can keep the person busy all day. Physical activity and fresh air are another means to help induce sleep at night. The chapter on recreation, activities and exercise might give you a few ideas, such as walking, dancing and simple exercises.
How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems
- 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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Ways To Prevent A Dementia Patient From Wandering
6 Ways To Prevent A Dementia Patient From Wandering Taking care of a dementia patient is not easy, especially since they tend to wander sometimes. This can become extremely overwhelming for a caregiver. Every noise at night is a worry to them, in case the patient has gone wandering off somewhere. Taking the patient out is also terrifying. If the caregiver does not keep an eye on the patient all the time, there is always a chance that he/she could get lost, or wander off somewhere and get hurt. Knowing how to prevent a dementia patient from wandering can prevent a lot of anxiety for the caregiver, and will do a lot to keep the patient safe at all times.
Its impossible for a caregiver to keep an eye on a dementia patient every second of the day, however, since they are only human, and there will be times when they simply cant stop the person from wandering.
The following are 6 ways to prevent a dementia patient from wandering, not only to keep him/her safe, but to boost the confidence of the caregiver, and reduce their stress levels as well.
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Behavioural Support Training Program
Our Behavioural Support Training Program builds on the person-centred;dementia care concepts introduced in DCTP by focusing on;interactive activities, hands-on exercises and group discussion.;You will learn to further improve your skills in caring for people with;responsive behaviours related to Alzheimers disease and other dementias.;You will also learn how to develop action plans to problem-solve responsive behaviours and will learn communication approaches to;successfully address;responsive behaviour.
- To acknowledge, understand and focus on supporting clients with;responsive behaviours
- How to construct and demonstrate individualized communication;approaches
- How to prioritize risk in decision making when managing behaviours
- To create and implement an action plan for the purpose of problem;solving around responsive behaviours
- Received DCTP or U-First! certification within the past 3 years
- Some work experience caring for people with dementia
Participants of this course must read, and accept the terms of the;course outline.
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Communicate Patiently Slowly And Clearly
Use physical touch to help communicate. For instance, if a person with dementia is having a hallucination, a gentle pat from you might draw them back to reality and out of their frightening hallucination.4 Sometimes holding hands, touching, hugging, and praise will get the person to respond when all else fails.
Communication or more specifically failed communication can be the crux of problems for many caregivers. Weve whittled it down to some of the key aspects that you could focus on to make it easy for you and the person with dementia:5
Pay Attention To Your Loved Ones Changing Physical Needs
When caring for people with dementia, most of the attention goes toward a loved ones changing mental state, especially memory problems. But dementia patients also have changing physical needs that sometimes get missed or mistaken for behavioral problems from dementia.
Keep an eye out for changes in:
- The ability to dress oneself. This means caregivers should purchase clothes that are easy to wear, and that wont cause skin irritation.
- The ability to communicate or even speak Remaining flexible and finding different ways to communicate can make a world of difference.
- Eating and swallowing. Pureed foods can be a blessing should this occur.