When a parent, partner, or another loved one is diagnosed with dementia, you want to do everything possible to assist them, including improving their memory, logical thinking, mood, and behavior.
It's a lot to process. However, there are things that can be taken to help.
These include collaborating with their doctor to manage their dementia symptoms and other underlying illnesses. Additionally, different types of therapy may assist them in their daily lives. Also, daily habits such as exercise, proper nutrition, social interaction, mental stimulation, and adequate sleep are important.
Treatments For Dementia
Below are the treatments for dementia you can try with your elderly loved ones:
No medication is capable of curing dementia. However, some may temporarily alleviate some symptoms. Additionally, doctors may prescribe extra medications to manage symptoms associated with dementia, such as depression, difficulty sleeping, or agitation.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors
- Memantine (Namenda)
- Antipsychotic medicines
These approaches may assist spark your loved one's memory and cognitive abilities — or at the very least provide them with pleasure and a way to brighten their day. Ensure that anything they try improves their quality of life and does not cause them to feel irritated or overwhelmed.
- Reminiscence therapy
- Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST)
- Reality orientation training
Even if a person has dementia, their everyday behaviors have an effect on their mood. The same things that are beneficial to their heart and rest of their body will also benefit their mind — and mood.
- Staying active
- Prioritizing quality sleep
- Focusing on healthy foods
- Challenging the brain
- Staying organized
- Cleaning the home
Hearing and Vision Check
It is critical for someone with dementia to have normal vision and hearing. Visual impairment might make it more difficult to identify familiar individuals or objects. Visual or auditory impairments can aggravate dementia symptoms such as confusion and make your loved one feel more isolated.
Make an appointment for your loved one to have their vision checked to determine whether they require a new prescription for eyeglasses. Additionally, get a referral from their personal doctor to a specialist who can conduct a hearing test and, if necessary, provide them with a new hearing aid.
Counseling and Support
Diagnosis of dementia is traumatic. If your loved one requires assistance in coming to terms with it, request a referral to a competent mental health expert from the doctor managing their dementia. (You may wish to do this for yourself as well, if you require assistance adjusting to their situation.) This may include a therapist for individuals or families, a social worker, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. Moreover, joining a local or online support group for individuals living with dementia can be reassuring.
On their first meeting with a counselor, your loved one will discuss their symptoms (emotional, mental, and physical) and why they are seeking treatment. You may conduct a survey using these questions. Your responses will help the counselor choose the most effective ways to support you.
Are you interested in gaining a better understanding of the elderly's needs and how to address them? Check out Senior Strong's resource for caregiving.
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.