Looking after a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia is not an easy task. People with dementia often feel very insecure and vulnerable, so it is important that you keep reassuring them, and provide as much support as you can. It is equally important that the person you are looking after is able to retain as much of their independence as possible. This will help them to fight the effects of dementia, and also give them a feeling of usefulness. The effects of dementia can be confusing and depressing. However, there is hope, and this useful online course will give you all of the tools you need to understand dementia. In addition, there are many different symptoms related to dementia, and each person reacts differently. Here are some of the ways that you can help.
Create a Routine
People with dementia are often embarrassed, or upset, by their increased clumsiness, and forgetfulness. By creating a routine for them with simple tasks to complete at set times during the day, you can help to ease some of this discomfort. Make sure to involve the person you are looking after in everyday tasks such as shopping, laying the table, and cleaning.
Initially, they should be able to do all these things themselves, without much assistance, but as the disease progresses, you will have to assist them more. Using memory aids such as pictures taped to cupboards showing their contents, will help trigger their memory. If the person you are caring for smokes, replace their matches with a lighter, to minimize the risk of a fire.
Help Them Maintain Their Hobbies
Just because someone’s mental faculties are slowly deteriorating, does not mean that they still cannot participate in hobbies that they used to enjoy. Going for walks, and gardening, are relaxing ways of getting some exercise, and fresh air. If the person is a good cook, encourage them to make meals, and offer any assistance you can in the process, to make sure they do not injure themselves.
If they liked to listen to music, or play board games, ensure to include these activities in their daily routine. If they have an extended family, schedule regular visits from one, or two of them at a time. People with dementia tend to get confused easily, so having a big group of visitors is not really a good idea. If the person you are looking after likes to enjoy a glass of wine, check any medication they are to taking, to ensure that it can be combined with alcohol, without any issues. Furthermore, hobbies help keep their minds engaged and that can help to stave off the full effects of dementia for a while. This expert online course teaches you all the ways to prevent and manage dementia by design.
Look After Their Diet
It is quite common for people suffering from dementia to start eating unhealthy foods, or forgetting to eat altogether. They can have problems recognizing what a food is, or what foods they like, and dislike. There can also be problems with them spitting food out, or refusing to eat. This can be caused by irritations in their mouth, so it is a good idea if this happens, to take them to see a doctor.
The person that you are caring for may start to change their eating habits, and want to eat at different time. Try to be as accommodating as possible. If they are having difficulty using utensils, help them by putting the right one in their hand, and guiding them as they feed themselves. However, food really does have an impact on your overall health. You can learn more about using food as medicine through this helpful online course.
Assist With Their Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene can become problematic with the person that you are caring for. They can become nervous about washing themselves, as their sense of balance may be reduced. This makes them wary of having a bath, or taking a shower. Try to assist them as much as you can with this by helping them to wash, or being on hand outside the bathroom, in case they need assistance. One of the most difficult problems to deal with is incontinence.
They can often forget to go to the toilet, and not even be able to tell when they need to use the toilet anymore. Do as much as you can to help by keeping the toilet door open, so they can clearly see where it is. Keep an eye out for indications that they may need to use a toilet such as fidgeting, or moving up and down. In the worst case, consult with a doctor about the use of incontinence pads, or some other form of aid.
Take Care of Yourself
It is equally critical that you look after your own mental and physical health. Caring for someone with dementia can be exhausting work, both emotionally, and physically. Find someone who you can talk to about your day. If could be a fried, family member, or even one of the many support groups that exist for care givers. You also need to schedule some time away from the person you are caring for, to give yourself a break. If possible, get someone else in the family, to look after them, from time to time. If you do not have anyone who is willing to help you, then considering hiring a professional care giver sometimes, so that you can do something just for yourself.
Dementia care is not an easy task, it requires both a lot of patience and knowledge. By following these suggestions you should find that it makes the task a little easier to cope with. It can be a rewarding experience as well, when from time to time the person has a moment of clarity, and shows their gratitude, and affection for your assistance.