It is especially difficult for the family members to watch their loved one suffer through this disease.
If your parent or grand-parent is suffering from dementia, he/she will need more care and support at home.
Signs of dementia in seniors often show up gradually over a period of time. Also they may get diagnosed later than earlier due to the fact that our memories decline as we age. Most people just think of memory loss as a normal part of aging.
Individuals with mild to moderate dementia can remain comfortably in their own homes with adequate help. If you are providing care for your parent or grand-parent, having a strong support system will help you immensely.
- Become Educated: It does come as a shock to a lot of families when their loved one is diagnosed with dementia. Educating yourself about this disease will be helpful in setting realistic expectations about the disease and how to over come the challenges that are a part of this disease.
- Join a Support Group: Support groups provide a place for many family caregivers to come and talk about what’s working and not working for them. It also allows caregivers to talk about their frustrations and difficulties with others who are also going through the same situation. By joining a group, it will give you a chance to talk about your feelings or express them instead of keeping them inside.
- Caregiver Burnout: It’s true, there is such a thing as caregiver burnout. Since there are many stages involved in this disease, a patient may not stay at the same stage of disease. With the progression of disease, your loved one will need more time, care and attention from you. At one point, you may feel like you no longer have a life of your own and are not able to do things for yourself. That’s where extra help or assistance will come in handy and it will provide you with a well-deserved break. It could be another family member willing to help you or you may have to hire an agency that provides caregiver.
- Less Is More: While providing care for your loved one, you will start realizing certain things work and other’s don’t. Many individuals with dementia don’t do well with social gatherings. In this situation, try to limit socializing to a few people. Dementia can change behaviors in an individual. Your loved once the life of a party, is now mostly at home. With more people comes more faces and with that the confusion increases.
- No Two Days Are Alike: It may difficult to predict how your loved one’s mood might be at a particular day. Individuals suffering from dementia have mood swings. This disease is not just a memory loss, it’s a personality change as well. In the later stages of the disease, a person may develop anxiety and hallucinations. Individuals with dementia usually need personal care, incontinence care since he/she may not be able to go to the bathroom alone.
- Routine and Schedule: Having a routine and schedule is extremely important for you and your loved one. It will reduce anxiety, confusion and frustration in individuals with dementia.
- Arguments: If your loved one is arguing about a certain thing that you know is not true, just leave it at that and try not to argue. Anger and arguments will lead to more confusion in your loved one.
- Healthy Eating Habits: Emphasize more on eating healthy. Incorporate sources of proteins, fruits and vegetables in their diet. If your loved one also has other medical issues, talk to their doctor about which foods to avoid. Limit refined sugars and unhealthy foods. Also create a schedule and have your loved one eat on time.
- Enjoy (“Now”) Time: There are various types of dementia’s and each type of dementia may have many stages. Many individuals diagnosed with the disease go on to live for many many years following their diagnosis. Enjoy the time you have with them, now.