So Your Loved One Has Dementia? Read This

0
67
So Your Loved One Has Dementia
Credit: Kindel Media via Pexels

It’s never easy watching health decline in the people you love. Everybody slows down after decades, but dementia is different. Even when the body is healthy and people look largely the same as they always have, it feels like their mind isn’t always there. People with dementia experience changes in how they reason, remember, think, and do other everyday tasks.

The onset of dementia may be gradual, even if it’s more common now. When the onset is slow, treatment can be extremely hard for caregivers and those experiencing it. Everybody is different, and so are their conditions. However, knowing a few things can really help soften the experience and make treatment, even life itself, more fulfilling.

Set Daily Routines

It helps people struggling with memory to keep doing important daily routines at the same time, as it establishes constancy, rhythm, and stability in their lives. Aim to do important daily tasks like bathing, eating, and dressing at the same time every day.

However, realistically, sometimes this is impossible to strictly follow, and that’s OK! Consistency is the goal, but you also need to be flexible and remember that sometimes, things come up in life that require adjustments.

Independence Matters

People experiencing dementia may have trouble with certain aspects of daily life, but they can also be quite capable and independent. Helping them doesn’t mean controlling them altogether. 

Wherever possible, let them dress themselves. It may be wise to buy clothes that are easier to put on, such as comfortable, loose-fitting garments or items with elastic waistbands rather than belt buckles. While you’re helping them dress, bathe, or eat, be clear and communicative every step of the way.

No Shaming

People with dementia may not remember who they are, and that can be an emotionally difficult thing to experience. However, you need to carefully establish a safe, trusting environment, and that means avoiding shaming people for their health conditions.

Don’t say things like, “Don’t you remember who I am?” Instead, remind them of who you are, and don’t take their health condition personally, no matter how it advances.

Professional Care

When dementia advances, you may consider signing them up for professional, live-in treatment. The leading care homes for aggressive dementia make life comfortable for patients in a warm, supportive environment so they can safely age in place.

In such facilities, dementia is a normal part of life, and a supportive, understanding staff acts accordingly rather than seeing it as an exceptional condition burdening people. As such, it helps patients relax and function better day to day.

They have training and experience to help people with all cognitive abilities live happy, full lives in a safe and even inspiring environment. After all, human needs remain the same, even when cognitive abilities change. Look for a facility that can support dementia patients with love, care, tenderness, and balance but without stigma.

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three in the evening?” is a classic riddle from ancient Greek mythology that speaks to the human condition. After all, the answer is “a person” since people crawl as babies, then walk, then use a cane. This natural evolution necessarily means caring for our elders and being cared for in turn. If a loved one is experiencing dementia, remember the above tips.