According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2019 it was estimated that 50 million people have Dementia globally with almost 10 million new cases being reported annually.
In the United States, the Alzheimer’s Association in 2019 stated that approximately 5.8 million people are living with Dementia. Soon, these numbers are expected to rise as life expectancy increases, therefore it is important to give attention to Dementia in healthcare and home care.
Understanding Dementia and Dementia Care
Dementia is a syndrome that is progressive or chronic where cognitive function deteriorates beyond what might be predictable from the normal aging process.
A person with dementia shows symptoms related to memory loss and while some people notice these symptoms by themselves, other symptoms are noticed by a healthcare worker or caregiver. Possible dementia symptoms include:
Characterized by forgetting people, recent events, and a consistent difficulty in taking in and remembering new information.
Difficulties in Coordination and Recognition
A person with dementia will find it difficult to complete or engage in familiar tasks or routines and a loss in the initiative to engage in tasks such as personal care.
Communication and Comprehension Problems
These include poor judgment, problems with decision-making, and abstract thinking.
Disorientation manifests through sundowning which results in restlessness due to factors such as exhaustion from activities in the day and changes in an individual’s biological clock where they confuse day and night.
Personality and Mood Changes
Such changes result in psychological and emotional decline, agitation, paranoia, and manipulative behavior.
The effects of these symptoms in the early stages of dementia often have minor effects on the body, however, as the condition progresses, symptoms could affect daily life. While some families will opt for hospitalization, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities, others opt for dementia care at the comfort of their loved one’s home.
Dementia care focuses on helping an individual or a loved one to have all the necessary support they need to manage the condition in their home. Help can either be provided by a relative a friend or a trained caregiver from a registered home care agency.
Proper Dementia Care at Home
Caring for a loved one with dementia requires a significant amount of dedication because some of the symptoms can be very severe. Here are some basics of proper dementia care at the comfort of your home or your loved one’s home.
Conduct Extensive Research
Dementia care is not intuitive as some of the most obvious things might be wrong in managing or treating dementia. You, therefore, need to find resources that will help you as a caregiver understand the condition and treatment. It is also important to engage a dementia specialist for frequent consultation.
Create a Safe Environment
For you to make your home safer, you need to assess the situation and make adjustments based on the patient’s symptoms. Make adjustments that could prevent: falls, a patient’s interaction with potentially harmful appliances or chemicals, and special considerations such as adjusted fittings or structural modifications.
Frequently Engage Your Family
Holding regular family meetings is important as it ensures that the family is aware of any changes a loved one might be experiencing and how they can be involved in managing these changes. Families can also plan on a caregiving schedule where the duties are divided among members of the family, depending on their availability. It takes off the burden of caregiving from one person in the family.
Know When It’s Time to Involve A Caregiver
As dementia symptoms continue to develop, caregiving can become overwhelming and it is at this point when you should consider involving a caregiver. A caregiver will provide personalized care after conducting an assessment on the patient and develop a plan based on specific patient needs. Reliable, certified experienced caregivers are available for 24 hour dementia care in Winchester, MA from a registered home care agency.
Keep a Patient Record
As you navigate through understanding dementia care, it is important to closely monitor and pay attention to your loved one’s physical, emotional, and mental changes. A record enables you to understand any changes they experience and how to address these changes. Patient records also provide a comprehensive history of the patient when the primary caregiver opts for respite care.
Develop a Positive Care Approach
Some dementia symptoms such as personality and mood changes can trigger a negative response to the patient from the caregiver. However, such responses only aggravate the patient’s behavior. Train yourself to respond with empathy, reassurance, and affection, maintain a humorous environment, and when feeling overwhelmed, remember the memories created in the past with the patient.
Create Effective Response Strategies
Once you have identified the patient’s symptoms and the best way to manage these symptoms, create a response strategy. Examples of such strategies include getting the patient’s attention and communicating your message by asking simple and answerable questions and learning to listen with your eyes, ears, and heart.
Establish a Routine
A routine is an effective way to help a patient dealing with memory loss as it creates a pattern that they become familiar with over time. Focus on creating activities based on the patient’s interests and hobbies, while breaking down these activities into smaller steps. Emphasize personal care routines and good health. Create a plan that will fit into a sustainable routine for the patient.
Practice Self-Care as a Caregiver
Caregiving for a dementia patient is very involving and caregiver burnout could be inevitable. Therefore, learn how to accept support and take a day off for self-care. Caregiver burnout especially during the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the rise as most caregivers are under pressure and stressed. This article shares some stress management activities and tips for you as a caregiver, incorporating a few of these can go a long way in improving your overall outlook.
Available 24-hour dementia care in Winchester for Dementia Patients
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