Educating yourself about dementia is the first step to provide proper one to one care for dementia patients. It is extremely important to know and recognize the challenges that may arise when caring for someone with dementia at home.
The main issues while caring for someone with dementia at home
Dementia will slowly take away your elderly’s loved one independence. They won’t be able to perform the usual daily activities. That’s why caring for someone with dementia at home is demanding, here are the main challenges.
Aggressive and irrational behaviour
Mood swings and irrational behaviour are one of the symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes agitation, irritability, disorientation and can be triggered by various of factors. The usually observed triggers may include changes in environment (e.g. moving the furniture in their home, alteration in daily routine, noise) or sudden loss of control. In order to minimize those outburst you can surround them with familiar objects (photograph, smells). Trying to implement some music is also a good idea, it has proven to be beneficial for dementia sufferers. It not only calms them down, but also improves seniors’ quality of life.
Progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often entails the loss of bladder or bowel control. In no circumstances we should ridicule or further humiliate senior. Accidents like this happen when confused person can’t find the toilet or simply forgets to go. While providing one to one care for dementia patients, remember to reassure them so they can feel safe. You can help by gently remaining to use a toilet (e.g. every 2 hours) or put a signs leading to the toilet. You may have to change incontinence pats or pants if the need arises.
Caring for someone with dementia at home by yourself comes with a lot of responsibility. Helping to maintain good personal hygiene is one of them. The main issue is being able to convince senior loved one to take a bath. They can simply be scared of the slippery floor or loud noises that showerhead makes. Make sure to put their safety first and preserve elders dignity – washing and toileting is a very private activity. To minimize the stress ask your elderly loved one what they prefer shower or bath, install anti-slip mats and grab rails. Be mindful of the temperature of water or consider towel-bath in the comfort of the bed.
For dementia patients it’s easy to skip meals. We need to ensure that the loved one is eating enough. Proper nutrition for seniors is the key for healthy life and the consequences of malnutrition are severe. Sometimes senior will out right refuse to eat. What can you do? First of all, make meal time it a routine thing. You can even put a sign on a kitchen door with “Dinner’s at 4 PM”. Make several small meals instead of three big ones. Food should be pre-cut so the older person can eat by themselves, provide assistance only if necessary.
Communicating with your loved one with dementia
Frustration will occur when trying to communicate with dementia sufferer. Their speech is going to become slurred and they’ll lose the train of thought often. As carers we can help with communication process.
- Ask simple questions, state message clearly – one question at a time, form them so they can be answered with simple yes or no. You can also use visual cues, e.g. holding a book and a CD “Would you like to read a book or listen to music?”.
- Be patient when repeating – it will be necessary to repeat yourself. Offer one idea at a time, don’t raise your voice and try to use full names of people or places (instead of she, he, hometown).
- Limit the noise and other distractions – talking with dementia sufferer is easier, when we have their undivided attention. Maintain eye contact, turn off the TV or radio, you can also lightly touch their arm to keep them grounded.
Professional home care for dementia patients
As stated in the article, being a carer for a loved one with dementia comes with a lot of challenges and not that many rewards. Fatigue, exhaustion and sadness going to be your constant companions. As the disease advances, you’ll have to be there for them almost 24/7. That will lead to work and financial complications.
You can consider professional one to one care for dementia patients. It much more beneficial that putting your loved one in a care home. Nowadays the cost of live in dementia care is fair and affordable for most. When going gets tough maybe you should consider typing into Google “care for dementia patients near me”.
Find out, what to buy a dementia patient.