If a loved one has started to show signs of or is currently living with dementia, it can be difficult to cope with for both parties. In order to care for someone with dementia, a clear understanding of the condition is needed. Dementia is not a disease itself. It is a general term that is used to describe memory loss and the decline of other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are several different types of dementia including:
Alzheimer’s disease – This disease is the most common cause of dementia in people who are 65 and older. One of the early signs of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering recent conversations, names, and events. This can be accompanied by depression and apathy. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as poor judgment, impaired communication, disorientation, and difficulty with walking, swallowing and speaking may appear.
Vascular dementia – Less common is vascular dementia. Rather than memory loss as an initial symptom, vascular dementia is characterized by impaired judgment and the inability to make decisions. This particular type of dementia was previously known as post-stroke dementia. This is because it is caused by blocked or damaged blood vessels that lead to strokes or bleeding in the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia – This type of dementia is characterized by changes in behavior, personality, and difficulty with language. A tell-tale sign of frontotemporal dementia is degeneration of nerve cells in the front and side regions of the brain. These are the areas of the brain that affect personality, behavior, and language.
How Does Dementia & Alzheimer’s Affect Living Conditions?
The memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s and dementia can affect several aspects of one’s daily routines. Consider the following:
Food preparation – Preparing and keeping track of meals can be difficult with memory loss. Someone with dementia may set something to cook only to forget about it later. It can also be challenging for them to keep up with grocery shopping and maintain the contents of their refrigerator and pantry. Lastly, they may forget to eat meals altogether.
Home maintenance – Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia may have a difficult time taking care of the day to day tasks of home maintenance. Cleaning, yard work, and small repairs are some the things that may be neglected. They may also forget to pay the bills. Having a trusted person take care of the bills or setting up automatic payments can help with this issue.
Self-care – Those with memory loss may eventually require assistance with self-care. They may forget to groom and dress themselves as well as practice proper hygiene.
How to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The most important thing to remember when caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is that you must be patient. Be patient when communicating with them, and be patient when you are helping them with daily tasks.
It’s best to make things as simple as possible. Let the person know what you are going to do and what is going to happen. Step-by-step instructions work very well in many situations. Try to stick to familiar routines and environments.
It is important to frequently monitor those with dementia. Observe their eating and sleeping habits to make sure they are getting what they need. Additionally, take note of when they go to the restroom. You may need to remind them to use the restroom to avoid continence issues.
Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia require a high level of care. At times, it can be difficult for family members to keep up with the demands of their life while taking care of someone with dementia. This is where senior care services like Comforts of Home can lend a helping hand. Caregivers can step in to take care of your loved ones when you can’t be there. Contact us for more information on how we can help you take care of a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.