The discussion of the word “dementia” leaves many people with a plummeting feeling in both the stomach and the heart.
It starts slowly, almost subtly. The misplaced keys are losing the forgotten way back home. The forgotten birthday or anniversary. Using the wrong word or losing track in mid-conversation. These are often disregarded as usual signs of aging, but in some people, they may be the earliest signs that something massive is approaching – the beginning of dementia. When a doctor diagnoses dementia or Alzheimer’s in your loved one, you should be sure to ask a lot of questions to make sure you understand your loved one’s plight. The understanding will appropriately prepare you for how this progressive disease could change over time.
Unfortunately, multiple forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s are becoming rapidly common. More than 50 million people all over the world have dementia, and 10 million new cases are reported annually according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, here’s what you need to know as a caregiver of dementia.
Generally, most people think of Alzheimer’s disease when they first hear the word ‘dementia.’ However, dementia is, in fact, an umbrella name for the syndrome through which cognitive function and the ability to perform daily duties undergo a massive deterioration. A leading cause of disability and dependency among seniors, dementia impacts families physically, mentally, socially, and economically.
If your loved one has recently received a diagnosis of dementia, it is essential to educate yourself about the disease to become an able caregiver of dementia. Keep yourself well-read and informed about the general symptoms of dementia you may encounter in your loved ones and how to cope with them. Dementia may begin slowly and eventually transform to include even more symptoms, which require constant care and attention. Additionally, there are many underlying causes of dementia, ranging from chronic alcoholism and stroke to thyroid problems and drug interactions. Your elderly loved one’s physician should discuss with you the nuances of your parent’s diagnosis, along with any other immediate information that’s relevant to his care plan.
Look After a Loved One with Dementia
As a caregiver of dementia, it can be challenging to look after your loved one. But there are a few effective practices that can help a caregiver of dementia the ability to manage this responsibility. Most dementia patients will improve with a routine. Do your best to try to create a daily schedule of activities and stick to it. This prevents your loved one from becoming bored, agitated, or frustrated. For the sake of your loved one and as their sole caregiver of dementia, try to follow the schedule consistently.
While your loved one may seem all right now, memory aids are a vital part of managing the disease. As the disease advances, he may have increased trouble recalling minute details. Cues – such as putting a photographed copy of cups and saucers in their designated cabins, are an effective way to remind the elderly with dementia of valuable information.
A caregiver of dementia encounters many struggles while helping his loved one with dementia, many of them being the management of challenging behaviors. Arguing with a loved one with dementia will not yield the best results. Rather than trying to reason with your loved one, accept a more flexible approach and opt for creative solutions when problems arise. Unfortunately, if you get agitated or upset, your loved one may likely pick up on these feelings and replicate them. It is wise to stay calm, practice deep breathing, and wait for these emotions to subside before continuing to deal with the problematic behavior.
Take Care of Yourself
Between work and family demands, it is easy for a caregiver of dementia to get lost in the shuffle. Rather than ignoring your own needs and risking health in the long run, act wisely to maintain your well-being. In addition to restful and restorative activities such as running, yoga, and meditation, regular exercise should also be an essential part of your efforts to remain healthy and sane. Other ways to take care of yourself also includes prioritizing your social circle, such as spending time with friends or attending a caregiver support group to understand the disease better.
A dementia diagnosis not only changes the life of the patient but also for the members of his family. While it may not be possible to adequately prepare yourself for all aspects of caring for your loved one, understanding the disease and adjusting your expectations will be a valuable coping mechanism.
What Must My Next Steps Be?
You need to consider the future of your loved one’s living situation. Depending on how advanced the disease is, you should consider whether it is time to move them to assisted living, a dementia caregiving facility, or another facility. It would ensure that they are receiving professional care as the disease progresses. This can be a difficult decision that requires a lot of work, so you should start to investigate as soon as possible with your options and if required, try to find the right place for your loved one.
Looking Down the Road as a Caregiver
If your loved one is suffering the symptoms of dementia, contact their physician for an immediate assessment. Consult with our dementia home care specialist to learn how Harmony Caregiving can help you cope with the challenge.
We can explain how to look after your loved one with dementia and provide you with the necessary information required for you to make the best decision for the patient(s). We will teach you about the stages of dementia and provide you with useful yet straightforward dementia caregiver tips. Contact us today and let us chalk out a plan of action to give the best comfort to your loved one.