Dementia cannot be cured, but with the appropriate care, the progression of the disease can be significantly slowed down, thereby improving the quality of life for patients suffering from the condition. That’s why today we’re suggesting how to help someone with early dementia, as well as telling you about the best way of dementia support – the benefits of hiring live-in carers for elderly parents and relatives.
What is dementia? How to help someone with early dementia? And how to recognize it in its early stages?
What is dementia?
Dementia, otherwise known as senile degeneration, is a set of symptoms caused by a brain disease of various aetiologies. It mainly affects the elderly although, much less frequently, it can begin to develop in people before the age of 60. Characteristically, it leads to progressive impairment of cognitive functions such as thinking, speech, memory, emotional control, and so forth.
What does the initial stage of dementia look like?
Every dementia starts slightly differently. In some cases, the first symptoms are short-term memory impairment, in others, it starts with language disorders or personality changes. If the underlying cause happens to be Alzheimer’s, for example, such worrying signs are problems with prospective memory, in other words, difficulty planning and carrying out intended actions shortly. These are so-called plans for tomorrow and problems with temporal and spatial orientation. What is important: the symptoms must gradually intensify and have a visibly negative impact on our functioning – then we can talk about the early stage of dementia. The attention of those around us should also be drawn to the withdrawal and depression that often accompanies the first symptoms of dementia.
A person affected by dementia, without professional help, will not feel any improvement, but rather a continuous decline in their abilities, which is why it is so important to provide appropriate dementia support already in the early stages of the disease.
How to help someone with early dementia?
Here are the best ways how to help someone with early dementia that you should consider if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this condition.
Reminiscence therapy is a form of therapy that employs all the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell and audio) to help patients with dementia recall important events, people and places from the past. This form of dementia support can involve bringing different types of stimuli into the senior’s life, such as old photographs, objects, films and recordings from the patient’s youth, which can help refer back to the senior’s experiences and memories. Such therapy can take many forms, from a simple conversation with the senior to create a shared memory box. You can read more about this in our article available here.
Live-in caretakers’ support
Besides integrating reminiscence therapy into a senior’s life, it is also worth thinking about their support on a day-to-day basis. People with dementia have difficulty remembering, are disoriented in space and often forget to do daily household chores, eat, take medication or maintain proper personal hygiene. As a result, over time they can create a danger to themselves and their loved ones, especially if they live alone. That is why it is worth thinking about providing your loved ones with live-in help with dementia symptoms.
Live-in carers for elderly parents are the best way to keep them safe while maintaining a comfortable life and not having to change familiar surroundings. Live-in carers support seniors with daily household chores, remind them of medical appointments and medication, and provide companionship and security in and out of the home. Thus, that is the best way to provide the best one-on-one support seven days a week.
Top tips on how to help someone with early dementia
Here are the top tips on how to help someone with early dementia:
- Regular and repetitive daily rhythm — this way the senior is not so often lost and does not have to learn new things,
- Patience — you will need to exercise far-reaching patience with seniors’ aggressive or even frantic behaviour. Quite often you may have to let go and wait for the senior to, for example, eat or let you wash up,
- Peace — it is a good idea to limit any noises that may interfere with a peaceful existence,
- Diet — during dementia, patients tend to lose weight, which is life-threatening, so a high-calorie diet, following medical advice, is essential.
The initial stage of dementia support – conclusion
Dementia is a serious illness that makes it very difficult to function normally. It is, therefore, essential to integrate effective forms of dementia support into the lives of your loved ones to ensure they can live safely and with dignity with the disease.