Many of us have witnessed first-hand the scourge of a disease that can't be cured, just endured.
Disorientation, jumbled speech, paranoia and forgetfulness are only some of the reasons why individuals living with Dementia require specialist care to prevent their worlds falling into chaos.
In this post, we have collated our top 4 tips for family caregivers to keep loved ones feeling secure and able to focus on getting on with the day.
Tip 1 - Maintain a routine
Routine is your best friend when you are caring for someone who is suffering from memory loss, irritability and/or anxiety. Keep things simple and keep them the same everyday as far as possible.
A reliable routine coupled with positive reinforcement can go a long way in getting the person to bathe, take medicines and other common challenges that come with the disease.
Tip 2 - Limit wandering
Wandering is a huge cause for concern in elderly people living with Dementia. Take practical steps to prevent them from leaving your home or wandering off in public:
Install additional door locks or security devices
Always be alert in public places or unfamiliar areas and if possible, take someone with you who can help
Repeat to your loved one that wandering is dangerous. They may not have the cognitive function to remember or accept the warning but use the words often, calmly and with love.
Tip 3 - Stay organised when it comes to medication
It's not uncommon for elderly people living with Dementia to resist taking medication. It's important to bear in mind that they might be feeling like they are out of control, and that they have no say in their lives which can result in fear, anger and stubbornness.
Eliminate medications that aren't absolutely necessary. Sure, supplements may be good for them but it's not worth a fight.
Keep an eye on whether some medicines make the person feel sick or uncomfortable, speak to your doctor about alternatives or how to administer the medicine to reduce side effects.
Make sure pills are small enough to swallow and if not, speak to your doctor before crushing medicines as it may reduce efficacy or be dangerous.
Take your own medicine along with them. Say, “here's your medicine, I'm going to take mine.“ This shows it's not so scary.
Tip 4 - Get help
It is physically and emotionally exhausting looking after a loved one with Dementia, especially if they tend to wander off or get into trouble. Very often Dementia requires specialist care from trained, experienced carers who can help share their insight, relieve you when you need a break, or take over full-time if the emotional toll becomes too much.
Caring for a loved one living with Dementia is - more often than not - demanding, frustrating and sometimes even heartbreaking. It's known as a cruel disease because slowly the person you know and love fades into a stranger who can be scared, stubborn and difficult.
Don't let it go too far before filling up your cup - there is always help at hand whether you need a couple hours here and there or a support structure that gives you peace of mind.
If you feel you need support for you or a loved one living with Dementia, contact us today. Call us on 072 667 8664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and talk to us about how we help elders maintain their dignity and independence while living in their own home.
We’re here to help!