Caring for a dementia-stricken parent at home can be both challenging and rewarding. Many people with dementia can live at home with some independence in the early stages of the disease. However, additional assistance is frequently required as the condition advances.
Discover the tools you'll need to provide successful home care for dementia patients, including safety tips, resources for elders and family caregivers, and warning indications that you may require a different type of caring arrangement.
3 Must-Haves When Taking Care Of A Dementia Patient At Home
According to the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center, seniors with dementia can live in their homes or with family caregivers for an extended period of time with the appropriate knowledge and support.
Assess your ability to provide these three things that Johns Hopkins researchers identified as critical for success when providing Alzheimer's home care for a loved one.
Seniors who have dementia frequently become disoriented and begin to wander. A fall may necessitate hospitalization or the immediate placement of the patient in a long-term care facility. As dementia progresses, the demands for safety change:
- In the early stages of dementia home care, simple accommodations such as grab bars and clear, open layouts can help keep the house safe from Alzheimer's disease-related hazards. Eliminate trip hazards such as carpets and electrical cords and establish unobstructed paths throughout the house.
- In the later stages, dementia home care may require 24-hour supervision and more extensive house changes. This may involve automatically shutting down kitchen appliances and alarming doors and windows to avoid wandering.
Regular medical treatment and pharmaceutical administration might assist loved ones in remaining at home longer. However, certain health conditions provide significant challenges when combined with dementia. When determining whether you can care for a person living with dementia at home, consider the following health concerns:
- Diabetes, hypertension, and other related underlying diseases are complex in and of themselves, but they can be aggravated further by dementia symptoms, resulting in a decreased quality of life.
- Pre-dementia mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may complicate a loved one's dementia symptoms.
- Preexisting dietary disorders, such as irregular mealtimes or a preference for low-nutrition foods, or a tendency to overeat or diet excessively, may result in feeding difficulties as dementia symptoms worsen.
Appropriate stimulation, such as exercises and physical or occupational therapy, can help reduce agitation and improve the manageability of dementia symptoms:
- Memory exercises and productive activities aid seniors who are in the early stages of cognitive deterioration.
- Individuals who have late-stage dementia require sensory stimulation through everyday activities, sensations, sights, and sounds.
- Communication is necessary for all dementia patients. Interaction increases the quality of life, whether through activity groups at local senior centers or family visits.
Tips For Extending Dementia Sufferers' Home Care
With the right tools, family caregivers can assist in keeping a parent with dementia at home for an extended period of time. While seniors diagnosed with dementia frequently face a lengthy journey of cognitive decline, caregivers can support them along the way by giving memory aides and opportunities for success.
Memory aids can assist individuals in being more organized and managing memory loss symptoms. Several recommendations are made by the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Utilize a calendar, notepad, or to-do list to help you remember everyday tasks
- Set medicine and meal reminders
- Establish daily routines of enjoyable, meaningful activities
Success And Accomplishments
According to the APA, continued learning and achievement can alleviate anxiety about memory loss and slow the course of cognitive decline. Caregivers can assist elders with mild to severe dementia in succeeding by emphasizing residual strengths. By ensuring a degree of autonomy, you can aid in success when caring for a dementia parent at home.
- Standardize tasks and routines: While your loved ones may be unable to choose their own clothes or get dressed, they may be responsible for picking and putting on a hat each morning.
- Add visual and verbal indicators for daily activities: Labeling a bathroom or closet may assist elders in locating the right door and avoiding accidents.
- Break large tasks down into manageable ones: While preparing lunch may be a complex task, simple tasks such as extracting bread from a bag or peeling a banana may be more achievable.
- Choose simple, productive activities that your loved one will enjoy: Consider their interests and browse this list of dementia-friendly at-home activities for adults.
Warning Indicators That Dementia Patients' Home Care Is Ineffective
There is no cure for dementia at the moment. Some elderly individuals with mild dementia can age successfully at home for years, if not decades, with the assistance of family caregivers. However, it's critical to keep in mind that dementia is unpredictable, and care requirements may change abruptly.
Additionally, keep in mind that caregiver demands and abilities may change over time. Inadequate caregiver health is a major reason for older adults with dementia to transition to memory care.
If symptoms worsen to the point where any of the three must-haves — safety, health care, and stimulation — cannot be met, or if the caregiver's mental or physical health is jeopardized, memory care may be necessary. Early exploration of choices may assist avoid tension and anxiety when the time comes for a change.
Are you looking for different treatments for your dementia-stricken loved one? Read this article for more info!
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.