Dementia is an umbrella term that describes the severe loss of cognitive ability – Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause. Unfortunately, dementia leaves people unable to take care of themselves and can be confusing and stressful for everyone involved. Fortunately, there are many options for support including at-home care and purpose-built communities designed to enrich dementia sufferers’ lives. Whether your loved one is receiving care at home or away, there are several ways you can offer comfort and support – continue reading to find out more.
Understanding the impact of dementia, including the warning signs and likely progression, will make you better equipped to be a rock for your loved ones. There are countless resources online that will tell you everything you need to know and what support is available. For example, Parc Provence provides quality residential memory care and they have a wealth of information on their website.
Early dementia can be difficult, especially as many people want to keep hold of their independence. Therefore, you need to be flexible and understand that your support may not be accepted straight away. The key with this is not to take offense at any pushback you receive — just keep offering your support without babying your loved one.
Keep In Touch
If your loved one has moved to a residential care community, they will likely feel disconnected as well as confused. Therefore, you should keep in touch as much as you can by arranging regular visits, sending letters, or making phone calls. No matter what your contact looks like, it will show your loved one that you care, which will mean the world to them.
Take Part in Activities
Getting out of the house and spending time with family and friends is a great benefit for dementia sufferers, so make sure you arrange activities for the whole family to get involved in. This can be anything from going for a walk to having coffee at their favorite cafe. Depending on how advanced the dementia is, you may feel as though it’s not having any benefit, but familiarity and routine can do wonders for cognition.
Be a Shoulder to Lean On
When a loved one suffers from dementia, it’s a trying time for the entire family, so it’s important to offer a shoulder to lean on. During times of stress and confusion, you may need to pull out the box of tissues and simply offer reassurance. As well as taking care of your loved one, you may need to be there for other family members struggling with the adjustment.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to provide comfort, but it’s important not to neglect your own needs. While you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s easy to get lost and forget to take care of yourself. However, if you’re too stressed and exhausted, you won’t be in a position to help. Therefore, we suggest making sure you’ve got someone you can talk to and taking time away for some R&R when life gets too much.
Support with Daily Routines
As dementia advances, your loved one will have difficulty completing their daily routine. Although they may have some external care, you can help out by taking care of some of their tasks. Whether you’re keeping on top of their grocery shopping, cooking a meal or two, or managing their medication, your help will be appreciated – even if it’s not shown at times.
Talking is a fantastic way to improve cognition and keep your loved ones grounded, even when they can’t participate anymore. When communicating, keep your sentences short and maintain eye contact. If you’re looking for an answer, don’t rush your loved one because this can make them feel pressured.
The chances are that your loved one will answer your questions incorrectly, but you should never contradict them or make corrections. Doing this will act as a reminder that they’re disabled when how they’re acting is completely normal for someone with memory issues.
You will likely feel frustrated from time to time, but you need to take a moment to consider how frustrated, scared, and confused your loved one with dementia is. When they forget meetings, recall events inaccurately, and even forget your name, don’t get snappy because this will only make matters worse. Instead, take time to accept that your loved one’s cognition isn’t what it used to be, and let it blow over your head.
Whether it’s caused by Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, or any other medical condition, dementia can wreak havoc on families and friends. Providing support involves educating yourself, practicing patience, and staying involved in your loved one’s life. Remember, even though your care is needed and valued, you must take time out to look after your own needs.