Dementia is a chronic illness that presents many different challenges for caregivers, and even health care professionals might have a tough time caring for a person who is affected by this condition. It is vital that you approach this disease with realistic expectations, and also with a certain degree of understanding of the various symptoms and manifestations. The following recommendations will help you improve the manner used for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Consider connecting with a support group
One of the biggest challenges for anyone caring for a person with dementia is being able to maintain a positive attitude. That is why it is a good idea to search for a support group to be a part of. You should never be afraid to reach for help when needed. And it is not only about getting information on Alzheimer’s disease, but also about getting help for yourself while you’re facing this particular challenge.
While it is recommended to face such a situation with a positive attitude, be prepared to ask for help now and then. It will help you relieve a bit of the burden you may feel you’re sometimes carrying, and it will allow you room to understand this condition better as well as help you how to provide proper care to the person you are looking after.
Proper caring means being understanding and empathic
When you take care of a person who suffers from a chronic condition, being empathic with the sufferer is paramount for alleviating the distress that comes with it. Dementia patients have a hard time more often than not, and they can quickly get confused and frustrated.
The same thing can happen to caregivers who can feel like they cannot correctly offer assistance due to such episodes during which those who have Alzheimer’s disease get confused about the time they are living in. If you are empathic and you offer the care and understanding needed to treat someone with this condition, things will be much easier. Also, the patient will be more at ease if you are calm and do not act out on your frustration.
Have realistic expectations about the disease
Dementia is such a severe disease because it is a progressive illness and there is no cure for it. In other words, when someone gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he or she cannot be treated for it, except for some Alzheimer’s supplements that are designed to alleviate some symptoms and make the sufferer’s life easier.
Because it is a progressive disease, this condition will, unfortunately, only get worse. Nonetheless, for dementia patients, there are some good and bad days, as there are some good and bad moments. Focus on the positive as much as you can, but do not try to force these moments out of the person you’re looking after. That will offer both of you some degree of comfort, and you will have better results with a patient treated with care and understanding.
Understanding the symptoms
Saying that dementia manifests through episodes of memory loss is only scratching the surface. It is not enough to identify the symptoms of this disease as just the inability to remember things or people. It is true that memory loss is one of the most visible manifestations, but there is more to Alzheimer’s disease than just this.
Certain areas of the brain get affected during the progression of the disease. That means that behavioral changes are nothing out of the ordinary. The close family members of someone with dementia are often affected by such manifestations the most because they feel like they can no longer recognize the person they knew to be a doting grandmother or a dignified grandfather.
Some hallucination episodes can also occur. Other times, dementia patients may end up being non-communicative at all. Some cannot move or take care of themselves without assistance. All these symptoms can have a significant negative impact on the people who have such patients in their care.
Ensure proper comfort for the person living with dementia
There are things you can do to care for someone with dementia properly, even if the disease is irreversible and the medication available cannot address the root of the disease. One thing that helps patients with Alzheimer’s disease is a good, constant routine. You can use alarm clocks for seniors for as long as the disease has not progressed to the point that the patient cannot perform simple tasks.
Getting the patient used to a routine can diminish the intensity of the episodes. Also, make sure that you offer proper comfort in more ways than one. Besides assisting with personal care, you can also make sure that the environment is as comfortable as possible. Getting a recliner for elderly citizens may provide the patient with a small space where he or she can feel at ease and relaxed.
Communicating with a person with dementia
It is essential that you understand the limits of someone with dementia when you try to communicate. Always use the same calm, steady voice and allow the patient to take his or her time to understand you. Use simple questions that the patient can answer. Specialists recommend opting for questions that have simple yes/no replies.
Managing various tasks can be particularly challenging. That is why it is essential that you break such tasks into smaller steps. This allows the patient time to adapt and to perform the respective steps in his or her rhythm.
Planning for the future
At one point, the person in your care may require professional assistance, and you might even have to look for a medical facility that caters to patients in their advanced stages of the disease. Moving the patient into hospice care comes with its own set of challenges. Be prepared for the changes and try making the transition as smooth as possible. Also, make plans for the financial difficulties that such a move will entail.