How You Can Be There for a Senior Relative With Dementia

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Every three seconds, somebody in the world will develop dementia. It is estimated that there is around fifty million or more people who are living with this condition worldwide. It’s clear to see that dementia is a serious problem, especially for those who are living with it, and also their relatives. If you have an elderly relative or a loved one who is suffering from dementia, making sure that they get the right care and support is important for helping them improve their quality of life with this condition. 

The individual with the condition is not the only one impacted by it; it also has an effect on the lives of the people who are closest to them. It can often be difficult and daunting to try and navigate the emotional journey that comes with caring for somebody who has dementia. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to make it easier for everybody involved. 

Understanding What Happens with Dementia

Having an understanding of this condition and how it will impact the person who is living with it is crucial to making sure that they get the right care. Dementia is the term that is used to describe a loss of cognitive and behavioral functions, which is more likely to happen as somebody gets older. Suffering from dementia can have an impact on the person’s ability to reason, think, remember, solve problems, and manage their own lives in the way that they were once used to. It can also lead to behavioral and personality changes as somebody with this condition could lose control over their emotions. 

What Changes For Somebody With Dementia?

Many people assume that dementia will only impact a person’s memory. However, the truth is that for people with this condition, it will often affect much more than this. If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, then there are lots of things that you might notice are different about them including changing likes and dislikes, differences in the way that they behave, different sleeping habits, changes in eating patterns, and more. 

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When to Seek Professional Help

It is often a good idea to get help from trained professionals when you are caring for a loved one with dementia. Encore Caregivers offer memory care support in Houston for seniors who are struggling with dementia and other degenerative memory-based conditions. With the right Houston memory care, your relative’s quality of life can be improved and as a family member, you will be able to get advice and support with caring for them so that you can maintain your relationship while getting a better understanding of how the condition affects them and the best way to adjust to the changes that will occur in their life. 

Improving Communication

When a loved one is struggling with dementia, it is often important to change how you communicate with them. Somebody with this condition is likely to benefit more from communication that is slower and clearer. Be patient when communicating and consider using gentle physical touch to communicate when needed, and also draw them back into the present moment if they have begun to hallucinate or are becoming confused. Sometimes, holding a hand or offering a hug can be an ideal way to communicate and calm somebody with dementia if talking to them is not effective. When communicating, try to ask simple questions that have yes or no answers and keep distractions to a minimum. 

Keeping Social

Studies have found that our mental and cognitive health can be improved by staying as social as possible, especially when it comes to older adults. Encourage people to visit and spend time with your senior relative – even a few minutes per day of visiting with a friend or a family member can be useful with managing the symptoms of this condition and reducing any discomfort and pain that they might feel, according to some research. It is a good idea to support your relative in sticking to their routine and making sure that their life remains as normal as possible for them, whether that involves going to fitness classes, church on Sundays, or walking the dog. 

Recognizing Triggers

Somebody with dementia is often at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Along with this, their condition might cause them to become more agitated or irritated than usual and may cause hallucinations or confusion. They may lose their inhibition or act in ways that are out of character for them such as being aggressive. 

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Noticing what their triggers are can be very helpful when it comes to coping with these behavioral changes and managing them. When you know what the common triggers are you can then work around this to present the things that might trigger an episode in a different way. Stay calm and remember that this behavior is due to their condition and is not personal to you; often people with dementia have trouble expressing their emotions or feelings in a healthy way and this can come out as irritability or aggression. Empathy and patience are important for navigating this process and reducing triggers as much as possible. 

Support With Daily Tasks

Somebody with dementia might need more help and support with their daily tasks that they might have been able to cope with alone until now. It can help to come up with a set routine for them when it comes to getting daily tasks done and offer support rather than trying to do everything for them, as this can often cause them to become irritated and confused. Many people with dementia are like any other senior in that they do want to remain as independent as possible and allowing them to have this independence while continuing to offer support when it is needed is the best way forward. 

You can help your senior relative with dementia by encouraging healthy habits including good nutrition, restful sleep, and physical activity.