The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 5.8 million Americans have some form of dementia. While this condition mostly affects the elderly, there have been rare cases when the symptoms of dementia occur in patients in their 20s or 30s.
Families play an essential role in providing care to loved ones with dementia. It seems like a burden to some, but taking up this role allows you to prevent the symptoms from getting worse and support a loved one in their daily activities. Here’s a guide to help you become a reliable caregiver to a family member with dementia.
1. Learn More About the Disease
Some people find it frustrating to deal with patients whose memory problems make it difficult to provide care. These problems are part of the disease, so it’s important to understand that it affects a loved one more than it affects you.
Learning about dementia is crucial to communicating with the patient and knowing the kinds of activities that can slow it down. Whether your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or chronic traumatic encephalopathy as a result of brain injuries, doing research allows you to provide quality care.
2. Develop a Routine
Due to memory loss, dementia patients find it difficult to adapt to new situations. Unfamiliar scenarios can also trigger fear and anxiety, as they feel that they are unprepared to handle drastic changes.
For this reason, you must help them develop a daily routine. Having the same activities on a fixed schedule gives your loved ones peace of mind as they embrace each day with confidence. Be sure to come up with a checklist of chores and activities, including the things they love to do that can help improve their cognitive condition such as exercise.
3. Communicate Clearly
As their condition progresses, it becomes more difficult to talk to a person with dementia. They will struggle to find the right words, mistake you for someone else, or become frustrated when they can’t seem to remember a certain piece of information.
Despite these challenges, you need to keep calm and talk using clear and simple language. Be respectful and give them enough time to respond. It also helps to provide them with visual cues, so be careful with your hand gestures. Give them photos or draw pictures to aid their memory.
4. Bring them to the Right Community
In some cases, you might want to consider taking your loved one to a community that offers a healthy environment for dementia patients. Also known as a memory care community, this place must be designed to make daily living easier and provide immediate support without compromising a loved one’s need for personal space.
If you are in Seattle, you don’t have to look far for a memory care community that’s perfect for your loved one. Longhouse operates one in Northgate, so consider taking your loved one there.
There are numerous challenges you need to face when caring for a loved one with dementia. These shouldn’t stop you from providing them with the level of dementia care and security they deserve.