Understanding Dementia: Caring Tips to Deal With Dementia Patients
A person suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer's disease have behavioural disorders which make it difficult for others to deal with them. It's really hard to handle a patient with this brain disorder. They need specific dementia care as they may display aggression, mood swings and many other cognitive troubles. If any of your loved ones are suffering from a dementia or Alzheimer's related disease, you need to be really patient and understanding towards them. Moreover, you can also look for good respite care for dementia patients.
What Actually Happens in Dementia?
Let us first understand that Dementia is not a disease rather it's a biological disorder in the brain which causes poor functioning of the brain. As a result, the patient suffers with the loss of memory, trouble with thinking, mood swings and many other behavioural disorders. It's a progressive condition which gets worse with time. Nonetheless, medications may help in slowing down the worsening condition.
Here are few common symptoms of dementia:
These symptoms may vary from patient to patient.
- Memory loss
- Problems with logical reasoning
- Mood swings
- Loss of cognitive abilities
- Inability to communicate
- Confused state of mind
- Balance problems
- Disinterest towards personal care
There are different types of dementia and it can happen due to various reasons
- For some, it's caused due to a sudden stroke which disturbs the flow of oxygen to the brain.
- Another type of dementia is caused when protein deposits are formed in the brain.
- Sometimes, there is even fluid build-up in the brain causing cognitive problems for the patients.
- For many, this disorder happens because of their drinking habits and drug addiction.
- Lack of certain vital nutrients can also lead to dementia symptoms.
- Dementia can be passed on by genes too.
Treatment and care for the patients depends on the type of dementia they have.
Caring Tips to Deal With Dementia Patients
Carry a positive aura around you: Your gestures, your facial expression, your behavior, your voice, everything should be pleasing to the dementia patient for them to listen to you.
Listen to them patiently: A dementia patient takes time to collect words and communicate. So you need to be patient when they are speaking to understand them in the right way.
Respond with love and affection: Always show them care and love, no matter how badly they are behaving and whatsoever. Respond with an affectionate voice. It's the only way of healing.
Get their attention: You may even find your loved one often confused and in a lost state of mind. You first need to attract their attention towards you before talking to them. Call them by their names. Repeat their names and yours too.
Keep moments light and humorous: You must be sinking inside seeing your loved one in a difficult condition. But as they say laughter is the best cure- Try to bring humor in almost everything you do. Light moments are the best way to keep them away from anger and stress.
- Be in touch with your doctor
- Timely medications are very important
- Avoid sleeping pills unless it's necessary. Try natural techniques like exercise and even story-telling
- A proper and timely diet
- Maintain hygiene
Coping with troubled behaviors:
- When they are angry or aggressive on something, distract their attention to something else.
- Resistance to bathing and personal hygiene can be dealt with a reassuring voice. Talk to them like a child and explain each step in plain words while doing these activities.
- Hallucinations like someone is trying to kill me are quite common in many dementia patients. In such cases, don't argue or convince them that it's wrong. You need to be trickier. Keep the room well-lit. Avoid shadows. For severe conditions, you must contact emergency respite care for dementia.
- They tend to get mood swings and stress in public and display odd behaviors. To cope with such situations, you need to plan your actions beforehand- what to say and how to pacify.
- Dementia patients may even show suspicion, confusion, and distrust to few people. They may even get abusive at times. You should not get dishearten with their behaviour. Understand it's their brain disorder and they do not mean to hurt you. So don't argue with them and try to direct their attention to different things.
Other caring tips for dementia patients:
- Keep doors locked as dementia patients may walk aimlessly and they might get lost. You may also use a GPS enabled belt to keep a track of their whereabouts.
- Follow a daily routine for exercise. Try to make it a creative activity.
- Keep dangerous and fragile objects out of their reach.
- Cherish some old moments.
- Keep their room decluttered and avoid noises.
We understand that it might not be possible for you to be available all the time for you loved one who is suffering with dementia symptoms. But you can provide the best dementia care for your dear one by hiring a professional caregiver.
Here are the answers to some frequently searched questions about dementia caregiving.
How to Calm Down Someone with Dementia
Some strategies that you can use to help calm down someone with dementia, include:
- Listen to their frustrations
- Provide them with reassurance
- Divert their attention with activities like art or music
- Modify their surroundings to make it suitable for them
- Provide outlets for their energy by taking them for a walk or on a drive
- Refrain yourself from getting upset and normalize your body language
- Consult a dementia specialist to rule out any physical reason or medication side effects
- Join an online support community to share your experience with others and get more ideas
How to Deal with Aggressive Dementia Patients
Here are some productive ways of managing aggressive dementia patients:
- Try to determine the immediate cause that may have triggered the response
- Rule out pain as the reason behind the agitated behavior
- Focus on their feelings instead of words or actions to understand their reaction
- Be gentle, positive, and reassuring when speaking to them
- Try relaxing activities such as listening to music, massages, or exercise to help calm them
- Switch to another activity or shift focus from the immediate situation that may have accidentally induced an aggressive response
- Take a break while the dementia patient is in a safe environment
- Ensure safety for yourself and the dementia patient. If you fail to calm the individual down, seek assistance from others, or call 911
- Share your experience with others
What Are the Signs of End Stage Dementia?
Usually, as your senior loved reaches the end stage dementia, the symptoms may become more pronounced and include:
- Trouble eating and swallowing
- Difficulty walking without assistance
- Full-time support needed with routine personal care
- Susceptibility to infections, especially pneumonia
How Long Does Last Stage Dementia Last?
End-stage or last-stage dementia may continue for several weeks to many years. As the disease advances, your loved one’s abilities become severely limited, and their needs for constant support increase. In-home caregiver service is the best option for providing end-stage dementia caregiving to your loved one.
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