While many difficult dementia behaviors are unavoidable, the following measures may assist in preventing or minimizing them when caring for a parent with dementia.
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Understanding several techniques for improving conversations with your relative will help you build a greater connection and facilitate day-to-day interactions.
In dementia patients, new situations and environments can exacerbate agitation and feelings of anxiety. Avoid surprises and prevent scheduling numerous significant activities each day while caring for an elderly parent who has dementia. For amusement, focus on soothing dementia-friendly activities at home.
Changes in the environment might intensify agitation and leave your loved one feeling lost and worried. When caring for someone with dementia, minimizing loud noises and clutter, avoiding furniture relocation, and retaining familiar objects can all help.
Physical activity can aid in the prevention of restlessness, dementia wandering, and violent behavior in seniors. Additionally, it can assist your loved one with dementia in sleeping better at night. Regular walks, dancing, or chair exercises may all be worthwhile alternatives to consider.
Avoid excessive caffeine and sweets, which can cause sleep disturbances. Alcohol can also contribute to confusion, so try to minimize consumption or avoid it entirely if possible.
Talk about the past with your loved one. Many dementia patients retain memories from decades ago, even if they are unable to recollect a recent discussion. Having these talks with your parent can assist in calming them and strengthening your bond.
You may be concerned about your loved one's safety as their dementia worsens. If you're concerned about dementia and wandering, several GPS tracking devices created specifically for individuals with dementia can help you avoid risky situations and provide you with peace of mind regarding your parent's whereabouts at all times.
How do you manage an older adult who is experiencing dementia? Your parent's symptoms and care requirements are almost certain to fluctuate with time. Caregiving for someone with dementia at home without assistance may become difficult or impossible in the latter stages. Whether you require a temporary break to focus on your own well-being or need more permanent assistance, choose the appropriate level of care for your loved one.
If you choose to care for your loved one with dementia at home, it is critical to maintaining a safe environment. Medication and potentially hazardous things, such as kitchen knives, should be securely stored. Additionally, you may need to install additional locks to avoid wandering and nightlights to prevent nighttime disorientation.
If you need more assistance caring for an aging relative who has dementia, in-home care providers provide varying degrees of care based on your relative's needs. Dementia-related in-home care services may include the following:
Caring for someone with dementia poses substantial hazards to the caregiver's mental and physical health. Respite care, alternatively referred to as short-term care, provides caregivers with a much-needed break. While your loved one is receiving respite care, you can spend time with other friends and family, concentrate on work or vacation, or take care of your own health and well-being.
Respite care provides assistance with ADLs and medication management in a secure setting. Numerous volunteer organizations, support groups, and community services offer dementia elderly care ranging from a few days to a month or longer. Certain memory care-focused senior living communities also provide dementia-specific respite care. This is an excellent approach to evaluating a senior living community before committing to a permanent move.
Memory care communities are designed to address the specific needs of individuals living with dementia. These facilities provide a secure setting that is specifically intended to promote familiarity, alleviate disorientation, and discourage wandering. Also, they offer activities and therapies like sensory stimulation, music therapy, and engagement booths to help residents connect.
Memory care community staff receive regular training to assist residents with special memory needs and help minimize many of the challenging behaviors associated with dementia.
These communities are primarily concerned with the care of elderly persons who have dementia. That is why they offer reduced staff-to-resident ratios, 24-hour monitored care, and secured exits.
Nursing homes provide 24-hour medical monitoring and assistance and lodging and board. Residents of nursing homes typically have severe disabling diseases and may be bedridden, wheelchair-bound, or require daily professional nursing care. Before your loved one can enter a nursing home, a doctor must prescribe this level of assistance. Nursing homes also provide support with ADLs and planned activities.
Because nursing homes are meant for patients with serious medical illnesses, they may or may not provide dementia-specific training or services. Reduced staff-to-resident ratios constrain person-centered dementia care, and many therapies emphasize the physical elements of aging rather than cognition. If your loved one's medical needs necessitate a nursing home, inquire about their experience with and services for individuals experiencing cognitive decline.
If you wish to know which dementia symptoms to track for your elderly loved ones, check out this article covering symptoms dementia patients usually experience.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.