5 fundamentals to caring for someone with Dementia
Dementia can be a very upsetting condition and if it affects a loved one, in the early stages, it can be difficult to comprehend how you will be able to help your loved ones through this time. Here are five fundamentals to consider when you are caring for someone with dementia.
1) Dementia has more symptoms than just memory loss
A very common misconception is that the only symptom of dementia is memory loss and though this is extremely common, there are actually many variations of the condition we call dementia and each have very different symptoms at the beginning. For example, frontotemporal dementia and Pick’s disease is more likely to affect the parts of the brain that control behaviour, personality and emotions so people may become more impulsive, act with more apathy or indifferent, or their behaviour may change completely.
However, towards the later stages of the condition many forms of dementia start to affect patients in the same way, with many people struggling to do many daily tasks independently such as dressing and going to the toilet, and may also struggle to communicate or recognise loved ones.
2) Plan for the future
The only constant that can be guaranteed when caring for someone with dementia is that their needs will change. Remember most types of dementia are irreversible and progressive, meaning over time patients will have worse symptoms and will require more care for their dementia. It is therefore important to consider the future and prepare for a time when professional care may be required, either at home with a home care agency or in a residential care setting. It is also important that a dementia care plan is drawn up and continually reassessed so any changes in your loved ones’ needs can be considered.
3) Actively empathize
One of the main things to do is remain compassionate and empathetic to your loved ones as people with dementia are prone to becoming confused over their whereabouts, their identity and even when they are living. Try to imagine how you would feel and want to be treated if you suddenly found yourself disorientated in an unfamiliar place which is sadly what many dementia patients have to experience every day.
4) Think positively
When you are caring for someone with dementia it can be very easy to become bogged down with feelings of negativity and like your best isn’t good enough, especially with dementia being a degenerative condition but always remember that you are helping them enormously even if you believe what you are doing is relatively minor. Also many experienced dementia carers will say that the person they care for can have good and bad days and it is a great idea to try to remember the good days or moments when you are caring for someone – perhaps a journal or diary may also help you and the person with dementia to remember these times.
5) Accept Support
Sometimes it can be very hard to accept help as we can often feel like we are failing our loved ones in their time of need by admitting we are unable to cope. However, there is no need to feel scared or like you are being judged when asking for help. Many people turn to their own family in the first instance and this can be a great way to help share the burden and the practicalities of caring for your loved one. Many people also find support groups to be very helpful as they can talk to people who are in a similar situation to themselves as well as learning about local dementia resources that can be used.
Many people also would like to keep their loved ones in their home for as long as possible so may look to home care agencies who can help provide dementia care at home. Ashwell Home Care Services is one of these agencies and we can help you to face the challenges that dementia can present in the future and help you and your loved ones to live positively with the condition in the present.