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Memory Care

A Helpful Guide On How To Take Care Of Dementia Patients

Taking care of seniors, especially if they have existing conditions, is not always easy. Whether it’s a family member or a resident in an old folks’ home that you work for, taking care of elderly patients takes a lot of patience and compassion. Aging usually comes with changes that can be quite challenging to deal with. One of the things that people experience as they get old is having memory loss. The risk of memory loss increases as a person ages but it is not considered to be a normal part of aging.

People with memory loss need extra attention, care, and assistance. Their minds no longer work the way they used to which is why they need to be supervised constantly. However, their condition may also cause them to behave differently and they can’t always express or communicate very well. They can be quite short-tempered and sometimes might even throw a fit due to their frustration. However, this only emphasizes the need to care for them and nurture them more. The elderly could no longer look after themselves and even though not all of them will admit it, they need all the help they can get in order to lessen the suffering that they feel.

In this article, we will be giving you a proper guide on how to take care of dementia patients.

 

Understanding the different types of dementia

Dementia is a collective term that refers to various types of memory loss or thinking abilities that may negatively affect a person’s daily life. It can vary depending on the symptoms and behavior that the particular patient exhibits. It’s essential to know and understand each one so that you’ll know to handle them the best way.

Dementia

Dementia is a general term used to define signs of memory impairment. It is not pertaining to a single disease but instead points to many that involves problems with memory, communicating, and thinking. According to an article from Medical News Today, there is approximately 47.5 million people who suffer from dementia worldwide as of 2017. One new case of dementia is being diagnosed for every 4 seconds. This showcases how severe and rampant this condition is.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is an infamous type of memory loss that many also suffer from. It accounts for 60-80 of dementia cases. Majority of people who fall victims under this disease are those who are aged 65 and up. It’s a progressive disease that gradually worsens over time. It tends to be mild during its early stages but during the late-stages, individuals with the said disease eventually lose the ability to carry on a conversation.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s refers to the type of memory disorder that leads to stiffness, shaking, and problems with walking, balance, and coordination. Like Alzheimer’s, it’s a progressive condition that eventually worsens over time. It not only affects a person mentally but also physically. 

Symptoms of dementia

Persons with dementia may exhibit symptoms that will showcase their condition. Some of them might be noticed by the patients themselves or by family members who look after them, while others can only be noticed by caregivers or professional health workers.

Check below the possible symptoms of dementia:

  • Recent memory loss

o   This is when a person is asking the same question repeatedly. They keep forgetting the details that were in their head just a while ago.

  • Communicating

o   They experience difficulty in communicating and with language such as forgetting the simplest of words or using the wrong ones.

  • Struggling with basic tasks

o   They find it difficult to do basic tasks, including the ones they used to do before they had the disease.

  • Misplacing things

o   They instantly forget where they placed certain everyday items.

  • Mood and personality changes

o   This points to sudden and abrupt changes in their disposition. They can also become irritable, easily agitated, or fearful.

  • Difficulty in abstract thinking

o   They can no longer think properly in terms of abstract thinking or dealing with complex thoughts.

  • Disorientation

o   They get disoriented or easily confused. For example, they have a higher risk of getting lost.

 

How to properly take care of dementia patients

Take note, you do not necessarily have to be a medical worker or a professional caregiver in order to provide the right care for dementia patients. Even family members or persons close to the patient can nurture them in the best ways. People who are suffering conditions like that Fortunately, we’ve listed down everything you need to know about caring for dementia patients.

  1. Acceptance of the diagnosis

Knowing that your loved one or someone you know has been diagnosed with dementia is not easy to stomach. It is indeed heart-breaking that someone dear to you is suffering from a condition that will probably change who they are and render them vulnerable forever. However, can you imagine what the person who’s been diagnosed himself or herself is feeling? It’s not just painful for you, take their feelings into consideration. This is something that will not be easy for them to accept and there’s a possibility that they will lash out because of it or do things out of frustration. The best thing for you to do is to accept their diagnosis and try to be strong for them especially if they have no one else but you to rely on as their rock.

  1. Using available resources

It’s extremely important to make use of every available resource that there is. If you don’t know what to do or unsure of the steps to take, you can seek help from community and online resources to provide you with the necessary knowledge and guidance. Memory loss is a delicate matter that needs proper handling so it would be best to check out organizations who offer practical support, advice, and training for caregivers. You can try finding the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) in your country and also get in touch with local support groups. Talking to professionals and people who have had similar experiences will ready equip you with the information and strength that you need to care for a patient with dementia.

  1. Learn everything about your loved one’s dementia

Dementia or memory impairment conditions can vary. It’s essential for you to learn and study about the type of dementia that your loved one is diagnosed with for you to take the proper measures on how to care for them. The more you learn about the condition, the better you will be able to handle its repercussions and anticipate the things that are bound to happen because of it. You will also get to understand your loved one better as to why they’re acting in certain ways. You can try reading books, online articles and trainings, as well as joining workshops that will give you all the info that you need.

  1. Plan and prepare ahead

If you provide the right amount of support for your loved one during the early stages of their dementia, they might still be able to maintain their independence. However, their cognitive and physical problems might require you to give them the around-the-clock kind of care. In order to avoid any future stress, you can plan their living situation ahead. Try to make an arrangement wherein they can move around with minimal supervision (if they still can) while at the same time guaranteeing their safety at all costs. Also involve them in the decision-making process so as to make them feel that their inputs and wishes are also respected and taken into consideration.

  1. Make efforts to slow the symptoms’ progression

There are treatments made available for dementia cases but there’s no harm in making your own efforts in slowing down the disease’s progression. There are changes in lifestyle that you can encourage your loved one to do to combat the worsening of the disease. You can gently push them to exercise, eat healthily, sleep well, manage stress, and remain mentally and socially active so as not to speed up their mind’s deterioration. As a caregiver, you can also try these lifestyle changes to that you can also protect your own health and reduce the stress of caregiving.

  1. Help with memory loss

As previously mentioned, having short-term memory loss is one of the main symptoms of dementia. Your loved one might probably encounter this even as early as the first stages of their disease so it’s important to step in and assist them as much as you can. Help them by reminding them of their appointments, recalling people’s names, keeping track of their bills and medications, and other activities of daily living. You can also encourage them to help themselves by telling them to use a notebook or their phone in creating reminders. If they ever feel frustrated or berate their self, try to reassure them as much as possible.

 

Dementia is a very complicated disease that’s not easy to experience as the patient itself. Being the caregiver, it’s your responsibility to give your loved one the best care that they deserve. It’s very important to equip yourself with the necessary information with regard to the disease but also remember that you must be patient and compassionate especially with interacting with the patient. The disease may be progressive and irreversible, but at least you will be able to help lessen your loved one’s struggles.

If you are looking for a trusted and quality dementia caregiver in Singapore, you can check out Red Crowns Senior Living services.

 

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CATEGORY
Memory Care
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Red Crowns Senior Living
CONTENTS
Understanding the different types of dementia
How to properly take care of dementia patients

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