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How to Care for Dementia Patients with the Best Practices and Strategies

Indeed, a family may experience uncertainty after learning that an ageing loved one suffers from dementia. As the disease advances, you can witness your loved one suffer in the years to come with routine activities or missing belongings; even everyday discussions might become difficult. That said, don't lose heart if you are the primary family caregiver providing Alzheimer's and dementia care. Rather, enlist the support of the entire family to stand by you and your loved one as you get ready for the journey ahead.

Helpful Tips for Taking Care of Dementia Patients

Caregiving for a person with dementia is frequently a team effort in many families, involving several people who share duties and chores. Caregiving may be stressful at times, regardless of the type of caregiver you are. With routine activities and duties, this advice and recommendations may be helpful.

1. Day-to-Day Care

People who have Alzheimer's disease and similar dementias frequently encounter changes in their thinking, recalling information, and reasoning that have an impact on their day-to-day activities. People with these illnesses will eventually require greater assistance with basic daily duties, and it might involve taking a shower, grooming, and clothing. The fact that they require assistance with such private matters and everyday tasks may upset them.

Try to maintain a daily schedule for personal hygiene as the illness worsens, such as taking a shower, getting dressed, and eating simultaneously in order every day. Additionally, assist the person with noting tasks and activities in a journal or calendar. Plan enjoyable activities for the individual and attempt to perform them every day. Dementia caregivers should also think about a system to assist those who need to handle and take their medications on a regular basis.

2. Communication

People with Alzheimer's disease and associated dementia may have difficulty communicating because they have memory problems. Additionally, they may feel irritated, worried, or even furious. Additionally, some varieties of dementia may impede a person's ability to talk or find the correct words.

By assuring the other and speaking gently, you may make improving your communication skills much simpler. If the individual is angry or afraid, attempt to show that you empathize by listening to their worries and frustrations. Respect their personal space and provide them with as much freedom as possible to live their lives. The most crucial thing is to promote continuous two-way communication.

3. Promoting Healthy Living

Everyone benefits from eating well and being active, but those who have Alzheimer's disease or related dementia should pay extra attention to these factors. Finding strategies for the patient to eat nutritious meals and keep active may become more difficult as the condition worsens.

Think about many things the individual can do to be busy, such as housework, cooking, physical activity, and gardening. Begin an activity off with some assistance or participate to make it more enjoyable. Dementia patients can struggle to start tasks and may lack motivation or drive. However, if family caregivers handle the events, they could participate and enjoy them, just like they would in local support groups.

4. Protection and Safety

Making the house safer is something you may do as a family caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The elderly individual might have more flexibility to move around the house on their own and securely by eliminating risks and installing safety measures.

Check to see if your staircases have a safety grab strap or a railing installed. Consider placing safety plugs on electrical outlets and installing safety latches on cupboards. Aside from that, make sure there is adequate lighting in every room in the house and outdoor space the visitor enters.

5. Caregiver Burnout

Although being a caregiver may be incredibly gratifying, it can also be demanding, isolating, and unpleasant. Ask for assistance when you require it to provide some relief. This may entail requesting family members for assistance or contacting an organization such as the cheapest nursing home in Singapore, or perhaps the Family Caregiver Alliance or the Alzheimer's Association for further care management. Attend a caregiver support group, either in person or online, since having other caregivers who understand you will make you feel less alone.

6. Controlling Challenging Behavior

The frequent psychological and behavioral changes that take place are some of the most difficult aspects of looking after those with dementia. Using ingenuity, adaptability, patience, and empathy will also help you overcome these difficulties.

To begin with, keep in mind that the person with dementia cannot be changed, thus any attempts to influence or modify their behavior will likely fail or encounter resistance. Instead of trying to control them, it's necessary to try to adapt them. Also, a change in our own conduct will frequently lead to a change in our senior loved ones.

7. Confusion and Wandering

A dementia patient may roam aimlessly while looking for something due to confusion or disorientation. At times, the patient could even wander out, so it's crucial to keep an eye out for this concerning behavior and put safety measures in place.

Never leave your elderly family member alone; instead, monitor them at all times, whether they are at home or outside. Additionally, make your household secure to address security issues by adding locks that are concealed and putting up alarms that sound whenever a door's opened.

8. Incontinence

To do this, make it simple for them to locate the restroom, write down their typical bathroom usage hours, and proactively remind them to go to the restroom at these times. If there isn't a nearby toilet, buy incontinence equipment like a commode and position them close to the patient's bedroom. These incontinence products are available at select pharmacies and hospitals. Additionally, wear clothes that are simple to put on, take off, and wash. For those with dementia, velcro, and elastic band clothing are also effective solutions.

9. Managing Agitation

An array of dementia-related behaviors known as agitation include impatience, insomnia, and verbal or physical aggressiveness. Frequently, the severity of these behavioral issues increases as dementia progresses from moderate to severe. Agitation is most frequently brought on when a person feels their control being eroded.

Reduce the number of people looking after them in the room, noise, and clutter to control this. Continually follow the same practices to preserve the structure. Sugar, coffee, and other meals that raise energy levels should be avoided. Finally, to calm agitation, try adapting a gentle touch, calming music, reading, or going for a walk. Avoid trying to detain the individual when they are agitated.

10. Repetitive Speech

People who have dementia frequently repeat words, sentences, questions, or actions. While this kind of conduct is typically not harmful to the dementia patient, it can frustrate and stress out caregivers. Anxiety or environmental variables might occasionally cause the behavior.

To deal with this, give lots of confidence and consolation, both verbally and physically. Additionally, attempt to ignore the behavior or question and steer the individual toward an activity rather than have them repeatedly think that they are going over and over in circles. 

11. Dealing with Paranoia

It may be unnerving to witness a senior loved one unexpectedly turn suspicious, envious, or accusing, and it's best to avoid arguing or disagreeing with them since what they're going through is very real to them. After assisting them in their search for the lost item, divert their attention to something else. Avoid arguments and try to find out where the puzzled person likes to hide things that are usually considered to be lost. Spend some time explaining to other relatives that dementing disease includes questionable charges.

12. Sundowning and Sleep Problems

The afternoon and evening, such as just before sunset, may be times when dementia symptoms are more common. They might not be able to tell the difference between day and night because of their disorientation and memory loss.

Maintain a schedule and keep their daily routines regulated, including regular bedtimes and meals to handle this. Also, your senior patient will find it more challenging to get a good night's sleep if they take multiple or prolonged naps. Rather, keep them occupied with different tasks all day long and avoid sweets and caffeine as well, especially starting in the afternoon.

13. Showering

People who suffer from dementia frequently struggle to recall basic hygiene routines like using the restroom, taking a bath, and frequently changing their clothes. That said, showering frequently upsets both caregivers and the people they care about.

Keep your awareness of your surroundings, including the air and water temperatures as well as the amount of light available. Utilizing safety elements like grab bars, bath or shower benches, and non-slip mats is also a smart idea. Last but not least, never leave senior patients dealing with dementia alone while in the bathroom.

14. Controlling Undesirable Feelings

When guilt sets in for caregivers, they frequently make promises that are unrealistic. If you break such commitments, your senior loved one is upset and you feel much worse. Get yourself out of this cycle to reduce stress for your loved one as well as yourself. While occasionally being furious is common for carers, if you find yourself getting angry all the time, snapping, yelling, or sobbing with frustration, you should take a break. To give oneself a break from caring, ask someone to help or take over, even only temporarily.

The dementia patient may lose the memory of their caregiver, their past connection, and any past feelings of love as the disease develops. It's possible that the person with dementia will no longer recognize how you are taking care of them and won't show appreciation for it. A caregiver may experience loneliness and a lack of appreciation as a result of this and grief and depression are also induced by such a situation. Set up regular visits with other family members and friends and avoid isolating oneself.

15. Planning Ahead

It might be difficult to make healthcare choices for those who cannot manage to advocate for themselves. Planning health care directives while it is early is definitely crucial for this reason. Also, you may include your older relatives in early conversations about future planning so they can participate in coming up with the right decisions.

Before speaking with the elderly you are caring for's doctor or attorney, get their consent. Take into account your legal and financial alternatives, senior group homes, long-term care, funeral, and memorialization plans, as well as your possibilities for in-home care here.

Knowing more about the illness affecting your older loved one will provide you insight into what to anticipate as dementia worsens. While you are caring for your loved one, it is definitely essential that you look after yourself equally.

It might be useful to connect with other caregivers going through comparable challenges in a supportive setting by joining a dementia caregiver support group. Instead of placing your senior folks in dementia care in Singapore, take care of them at their own home where they may age in place and have happier, more secure lives.

Redcrowns aims to help you live your senior years happily.
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Helpful Tips for Taking Care of Dementia Patients

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