Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of symptoms that affect a person’s memory and thinking, apart from their social abilities. In short, it is a term that stands for a mental decline that keeps a person from performing the activities of daily living independently.
Memory loss is one of the most significant symptoms of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is it’s most common form. Up to 80 % of people diagnosed with dementia have Alzheimer’s, and most of them find it hard to carry out daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and grocery shopping independently. Yes, you got that right; they need someone’s help to perform such activities effectively.
And the second most common form of dementia is vascular dementia which stems from a stroke. Besides, people with vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems remain at a higher risk of dementia.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Dementia
- Short term memory loss
- Problem remembering dates and events
- Poor judgment affecting a person’s ability to perform daily activities
- Difficulty carrying out routine and familiar tasks
- Problem communicating their thoughts with others due to language problems
- Inability to keep track of their belongings
- Feeling frustrated and getting angry frequently due to memory problems
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Avoiding social gatherings and events
So, if your aging parent is struggling with dementia and they are finding it hard to accomplish everyday tasks, unable to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others, forget time and dates, and have problem traveling on familiar routes, then you need to give them the kind of care they deserve.
You should take concrete steps to promote the happiness and independence of your loved one.
Tips for Helping a Loved One with Dementia
Increase Your Knowledge About Dementia
If you have a loved one struggling with dementia, and you do not know much about this disease, then please educate yourself about it in the first place. Learn how it progresses and what kind of effects it can have on your loved one.
The more knowledge you have about dementia, the better you will be able to understand your aging parent. It will help you in empathizing with them.
Once you come to know that your parent is living with dementia, you should try to be more realistic in terms of understanding their behavior and dealing with it. You should neither have high expectations from them nor yourself.
Set Practical Goals
While dealing with a dementia patient, it’s necessary for you to set practical goals. If you try to achieve something that’s not at all practical, it will affect both your loved one and yourself. For example, if you live an utterly hectic professional life, don’t even think that you can meet the needs of your loved one alone. Accept the fact that you will need someone’s help when it comes to offering the best care to your loved one.
Book In-Home Care Services
If you want to promote your loved one’s happiness and independence, be an integral part of their care plan, and provide one-on-one attention to them, then you should book in-home care services for them. You can ask the in-home care agency to offer customized services to meet your loved one’s specific requirements.
For example, you can book an Alzheimer’s and dementia specialist for offering specialized care to your loved ones, but at the same time, you can also seek in-home care services for helping your loved one with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and grocery shopping, etc.
Avoid Arguing With Them
Whether your aging parent has misplaced something or they went for shopping but are unable to get back home on time due to their inability to remember the route, please make sure that you do not indulge with an argument with them.
Your argument will neither solve the problem nor help your loved one in any way possible. It will only end-up enhancing their frustration level thereby making them more upset.
Encourage Your Loved One to Eat Nutritious Food
If you want your loved one to feel happy and energetic all the time, make sure that you encourage them to consume nutrient-dense food. Over the years, several studies have linked this problem with poor nutrition. Therefore, it’s better to include more fruits and vegetables in the diet of your loved one.
Apart from that, encourage them to perform regular exercise and take out time to have fun with them as it will make them happy.