5 Tips for Caring for Dementia Patients

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Getting old is never fun, and as our bodies age, our brains also begin to slow down and deteriorate with time. With old age, human brains can fall victim to a variety of different diseases and problems.

Dementia is a group of conditions and symptoms that heavily affect the brain and often appear in older adults. The two main characteristics of dementia in patients are memory loss and judgment. Dementia is a progressive disorder and there is no cure. 

While we cannot cure dementia, it is important to learn more ways to care for our loved ones affected by the illness to improve their quality of life. Here are some simple and effective tips and tricks for caring for dementia patients. 

Be vigilant 

Since dementia is a progressive disorder, we need to be vigilant when caring for our loved ones suffering from it. As the disorder progresses, the symptoms are going to change as well as the severity. It is crucial to keep track of the list of symptoms and how their severity increases and decreases to tailor our care plans to fit our loved ones’ complex needs. 

Being on the lookout for new or worsening symptoms is crucial to caring for dementia patients because of the nature of the disorder. New behaviors or an increase in the severity is an important sign of the disorder progressing. Taking steps to keep track of behaviors and symptoms will help you address the overall condition of your loved one better and be prepared to make changes to adapt to progressing symptoms. 

Not only is it important to stay vigilant to keep track of progressing symptoms, but you must also be very mindful of your loved one’s safety. Dementia patients suffer from memory loss and lapse of judgment, so their actions can be very illogical and sometimes dangerous to their wellbeing. 

Dementia patients shouldn’t be left alone for too long and you should take steps to “adult proof” their home. Take a walk through the house and remove obvious hazards as well as think about ways you can provide a safer and more secure home environment for them. 

Being a vigilant caregiver is crucial to providing safe and healthy homecare for your loved one suffering from Dementia. 

Establish a routine 

Dementia affects a lot of the brain’s ability to manage itself and daily contrive function through memory loss and other lapses in psychological function. One of the best ways to combat this and keep your loved ones suffering from the disorder happy and healthy is by establishing a routine for them. 

Implementing a simple and consistent daily routine for your loved one to follow is an easy step to maintain some normalcy in their life. Sit down and write up a daily schedule of all the things they can and should do throughout their day to stay healthy and enjoy their life. Everything from what time to get up and what time to go to bed, personal hygiene, meals, and other activities throughout their day to keep themselves occupied. 

Once you establish this routine, take steps to help them navigate the day and try your best to help them commit at least some of it to memory. Dementia greatly affects memory, but many patients will still be able to commit some of their daily routines to memory as long as they are consistent in implementing it in their life.

Establishing a simple and healthy daily routine in your loved one’s life is a great way to care for them while they navigate living with a progressive disorder. 

Keep it simple 

Due to how greatly dementia affects the brain a huge chunk of patients’ cognitive abilities it is important to simplify their world down to the necessities of life. Allowing them to focus on the more important aspects of the world around them will help them complete daily tasks and have a better understanding of their daily life. 

There are many different parts of life that you can simplify in a Dementia patient’s life. Simplify their daily routine, people they see, places they go, and things they do. Keep the daily routine down to the basics of living a healthy and happy life.

Don’t expose patients to too many new people, it will make them anxious and make it even more difficult for them to remember their own family. Try to limit the different places they go to the essentials and some more safe places they enjoy. Encourage them to complete a limited list of activities and pastimes that they enjoy and are healthy for them. 

Making an effort to simplify their lives is another great way to improve the quality of life of your loved one’s suffering from Dementia and care for them on a daily basis. 

Stay consistent with professional care 

One of the most important parts of caring for a loved one that is suffering from dementia is to stay consistent with their medical care. Make sure your loved one makes it to all the necessary appointments with their doctors. Keeping them on a consistent care schedule will ensure that their doctors remain current with their condition and maintain overall wellness as best as possible. 

Stay involved with their doctors as your loved one’s advocate. Their doctor will most likely want to see them often to make sure everything else is running smoothly. Making sure your loved one attends all of these appointments consistently is crucial to caring for their health. 

Remaining consistent can be very difficult on your own. Sometimes those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s have problems that lead to abuses of their home phone connection. This can include forgetting they just called someone and calling back several times in a row, calling 911 for no reason, and even being scammed over the telephone by people preying on them. A home phone provides a lifeline for the elderly to reach out to family members and stay connected to those they love.

Because of this it is important for caretakers to consider using a dementia-focused phone service like teleCalm. Services like this can help seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s stay connected to family and friends while stopping repeat calls, block would-be scammers, filter outgoing calls to reduce TV-based shopping, and give the family or caretaker control over the phone service with a companion app

Staying motivated and consistent when caring for your loved one with Dementia is one of the most important things to do when looking for ways to improve their overall wellness and happiness as they battle their disorder. 

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People with dementia and their care partners – Photo by: K. Kendall – Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Remain calm, cool, and collected 

Dementia is an incredibly difficult disorder, and it affects the whole family. Caring for a loved one who is suffering from this disorder can be exhausting and frustrating. Another very important part of caring for your loved one with dementia is staying calm and patient. 

This disorder causes a lot of extreme highs and lows in behavior and severity, and these ups and downs are usually expressed in outward behavior from the patient. Remaining calm and having a mild demeanor when dealing with these mood swings is crucial to taking control of the situation and restoring order. If you freak out or show signs of extreme stress around the patient it will make them more upset. 

While it is often extremely challenging, keeping your calm and taking steps to lower the stress level in the room is another very important part of caring for your loved one with Dementia. 

Moving forward

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia and associated disorders, it may seem like the whole world is falling apart around you. Taking steps to improve the overall life and wellbeing of your loved one is the best thing you can do for them in their struggles. 

Keeping an eye on them, establishing and remaining consistent with a care routine, and always remaining calm and collected is crucial to caring for your loved one with dementia.