Many people reach out to me asking, “My husband has dementia what help can I get?” or “My husband has dementia and I can’t cope.” Here is how to deal with dementia and the challenges it brings.
Caring for someone with dementia can be an emotionally challenging journey riddled with overwhelming stress. Many family caregivers struggle to keep up with the emotional toll and the demanding nature of this responsibility. As a result, many easily crack under pressure, suffering from caregiver burnout and, in the worst case, depression.
In this article, we will discuss the emotions and experiences that accompany dementia caregiving. We will also provide a few strategies to help caregivers navigate the challenging landscape of caring for someone with dementia.
The Emotional Challenges of Dementia Care
Dementia is a gradual and often irreversible decline in cognitive functions. Its effects can range from impaired reasoning and memory loss to personality changes and immense emotional toll for both the patient and caregiver. Here are some of the challenges of dementia care:
For the Patient
- Confusion and frustration
- Loss of independence
- Isolation and loneliness
- Depression and anxiety
For the Caregiver
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Financial strains
- Emotional strain
- Social Isolation
With all these emotional challenges, it is entirely normal for the patient and caregiver to experience a range of emotions, from sadness and frustration to stress. It is essential to acknowledge and understand these emotions as it is the first step towards successfully coping with the challenges dementia presents.
The Importance of Professional Support in Dementia Care
With all the emotional challenges that come with dementia care, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of working with professionals in the journey. Here are some of the benefits of professional support when caring for dementia patients:
- Early diagnosis – diagnosing dementia earlier allows for early intervention, which helps manage the symptoms more effectively. So, if you are wondering, “My husband has dementia what help can I get?” reach out to a neurologist as soon as possible.
- Specialised care planning – caring for dementia patients often involves creating a care plan that suits their unique needs and challenges. With that in mind, it is essential to involve professional caregivers and medical practitioners when creating these plans to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to care.
- Education and training – it is essential to understand what dementia is and its progression in order to create an effective care strategy. Many individuals know what the condition is but do not understand how to adapt to the changing needs of the individual with dementia. Professionals can help remedy the situation, empowering the family members and caregivers with the knowledge they need to effectively care for their loved one.
As mentioned earlier, many individuals reach out saying, “My husband has dementia and I can’t cope.” That was me a few years ago, and through the help of a few professionals, I came out of it stronger.
The truth is, it is virtually impossible to provide adequate care for your loved one with dementia by yourself. You will need all the help you can get from specialists, therapists, support groups or family members.
For me, specialists were the key to handling the challenging part of creating a care plan for my ailing husband. These included a neurologist, a physical therapist and, later on, a professional caregiver. I also needed emotional assistance, and the support from the entire family, my therapist and support group couldn’t have come at a better time.
Tips for Managing Your Responsibilities and Emotions as a Caregiver
In the case of the individual who reached out saying, “My husband has dementia what help can I get,” the biggest challenge is learning how to manage the new responsibilities and the emotions that come with it. Here are a few tips on how to deal with dementia and effectively manage the tasks:
- Daily routines – When caring for an individual with dementia, it is essential to have stability and comfort. As such, it is crucial to establish and maintain consistent daily routines. So, create a schedule (and stick to it) for all daily activities, such as meals, medication and activities to improve memory aid in dementia patients.
- Maintaining patience – When dealing with the challenges posed by dementia, it is essential to practice patience. So, cultivate mindfulness and awareness to help you manage and control your frustrations.
- Find moments of respite – One of the biggest challenges caregivers face is emotional and physical strain. It is essential to find moments of respite as a caregiver in order to ensure you continue providing quality care for your loved one. So, identify and prioritise a few activities that give you joy and relaxation.
Strategies for Preserving the Quality of Life for Loved Ones With Dementia
Preserving the quality of life for individuals with dementia is crucial to promoting dignity and respect, emotional well-being and independence. Here are a few strategies that can help enhance the quality of life for these loved ones:
Create Moments of Joy
Although individuals with dementia face cognitive challenges, they still have the ability to experience joy and happiness. So, incorporate activities such as music and dance, arts and crafts and pet therapy in your care plan.
Engage in Enjoyable Activities
Engaging in enjoyable activities is another great way to preserve the quality of life for individuals with dementia. In addition to providing pleasure and stimulation, these activities bring a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Fostering connections with others is the key to improving the emotional health of the caregiver and the dementia patient. So, encourage regular visits from friends and family to promote social interaction. Also, consider joining support groups to share insights with other dementia patients and caregivers.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a challenging responsibility for any individual. It will take a lot of commitment and dedication to keep them healthy and preserve their quality of life. For that reason, you will need all the help you can get.
If you are wondering, “My husband has dementia what help can I get?”, contact Veritas Care today for a complete care assessment and begin your journey to providing adequate care for your loved one with dementia.