Dementia is the loss of cognitive function, where the patient becomes forgetful, socially withdrawn, and mentally impaired to the extent that it interferes with their daily lives. This makes home care for dementia patients complex and challenging. To ease your homecare routine, consider educating the seniors about their condition and the changes to expect.
As a home caregiver, learn about your seniors’ dementia and prepare to adapt as the changes occur. Additionally, taking proper care of yourself will enable you to care for a senior with dementia without feeling frustrated. It’s important to note that there are three stages of dementia. They include the early stage when the symptoms are still very mild, the mid-stage where the symptoms become more pronounced, and the late stage where the seniors lose their independence and ability to recognize and respond to environmental changes and family members. Below are tips for caring for seniors with dementia at home.
Ensure a safe environment
Since seniors with dementia are forgetful and unable to recognize places, letting them wander alone can be dangerous. Considering it’s difficult to keep watch 24/7, consider installing motion sensors on the doors for immediate notification if they try to leave. You may also fence your outdoor area as a security measure and ensure that the seniors can still step out of the house alone and be safe. Where the above safety measures can’t work on their own, consider installing medical alert systems for seniors, such as a GPS tracking system. Start by comparing the best medical alert systems to know which system best suits your senior’s condition.
Prepare yourself for the emotional changes
The difficulty in information processing and the struggle to remember causes emotional changes in dementia patients. Learn about the emotional changes to expect and prepare to adjust. Some of the common behavioral changes to expect include anger, resentment, and frustration arising from fear, embarrassment, or confusion from the changes they’re experiencing. Anxiety from the difficulty of information processing and coping with the sudden changes may creep in. If the senior begins to feel isolated, they may fall into depression. Consider keeping an eye on your elderly patient to pinpoint these symptoms on time.
Learn how to communicate with them
As dementia moves from one stage to the next, communication becomes a problem. It becomes difficult for a senior to comprehend whatever you’re telling them, making it hard to converse. To protect them from feeling depressed, figure out a way to communicate with them. Consider taking out enough time whenever you want to have a conversation with an elderly person with dementia. Talk to them calmly and slowly, then give them time to process the information and respond. Avoid asking them too many questions and try to make the conversation as humorous as possible so you can laugh together to lift their spirit.
Prepare your home for a loved one with dementia
When caring for a loved one with dementia, consider making home changes that ensure their safety. Ensure the bedroom is well-lit and spacious enough to ease movement. Add non-slippery floors and light the pathways to limit falls and slips. Consider using different colors for the bathroom to see and differentiate everything and look for other bathroom safety ideas for the elderly. A kitchen is dangerous for dementia patients; keep sharp objects, add knob covers on stoves, and label drawers and cabinets. Eliminate clutter across the home and keep a clear pathway to avoid pumping into things and getting hurt. Since your loved one may have a problem with depth perception, secure the stairs with colored duct tape to ensure easy visibility.
Caring for a dementia person isn’t easy, but with patience and determination, you can do it. Use these tips to your advantage and know when it’s time to seek professional assistance.
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