mental health Mandy Kloppers

Ways to Support Someone Living With Dementia

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Conditions like dementia pose multiple challenges to an individual’s life. It has an emotional, psychological, and social impact. Numerous factors apart from dementia symptoms play a massive role in the patient’s life. It includes surroundings, relationships and supports the person has.

It is equally challenging for families or caregivers to support people with dementia. They need to understand the impact of the condition on the patients. They can give support only by understanding the patient’s perspective.

So, we have listed how to support someone living with dementia.

Routine care

People living with Alzheimer’s or dementia need support with everyday tasks. It includes bathing, dressing, and grooming. It might upset the patient at times to seek help for simple activities. Try to keep a fixed schedule for everyday activities. It will help the person understand the sequence of work to do daily.

Plan jobs that the patient loves to do and plan them simultaneously each day. Buy comfortable and loose-fitting clothing that person can wear quickly. You can use shower chairs for someone who has body balance problems.

Allow doing as many activities as they can do on their own. Note the tasks that dementia patients take more time to perform. Schedule their time accordingly and do not hurry.

Let them set their table for food and give them enough time to eat independently.

Healthy and active lifestyle

Staying active and healthy is essential for people with dementia. However, as the symptoms increase, caregivers can find it challenging to maintain a healthy routine. Include a variety of healthy foods in their diet. It will add variety and nutrition to their daily life. Give the patients a choice about what they like to eat and whatnot.

Make the patient do different activities which they enjoy. They can do simple household chores, gardening, and cooking. Include exercise in their daily routine. Note how much physical activity can the individual do at one time. Make them walk for a while in a day around the surroundings.

Meditation and yoga can make their lifestyle active and healthy. People living with dementia can also listen to soothing music. Soft music will relax their minds and body. Simple games like Ludo and scrabble also engage the individual.

Doing activities will make the person restless and reduce boredom. These will avoid prolonged sleep during the day.

Communication

Communication is challenging for people who have dementia. They find difficulty in sharing their thoughts even with loved ones. As a caregiver, you have to be patient. Encourage two-way conversations and give the person time to speak. Speak and listen to them calmly. Make your loved ones feel that you understand their emotions and fear.

Give clear and step by step instructions for tasks to do. Provide flexibility to understand what you are saying. Try to make them remember past events or conversations. Use body language like voice tone, facial expression, and non-verbal cues.

Remove all sorts of distractions around the dementia patient. Switch off the TV, radio, or other audio disruption during conversations or meals. Address them by their names to increase focus and interaction. Making eye contact while communicating will be helpful.

Home Safety

You should ensure the safety of your loved one in the home and surroundings. Removing hazards will give the one with dementia the freedom to move anywhere. Ensure handrails if you have stairs at home. Mark steps’ edges with bright colors or tape to make them visible. Keep the floor clear of unused items. Remove electrical cords and rugs that might come in the patient’s way.

Please put safety plugs in unused electrical outlets. Include cabinet doors or safety latches all over the place. Ensure the house has enough lighting, especially the room that person visits. Lock up the cupboards containing threatening substances like cleaning chemicals, alcohol, and tools.

Ensure lighters and matchsticks are out of your patient’s reach. Make sure a fire extinguisher is accessible to you. Installing cameras or home security systems is suitable for the person’s safety. You can use a digital watch with GPS to track the patient’s movement.  

Conclusion

Living with someone who has dementia can be rewarding. However, doing so is stressful and overwhelming at times. Caring for such a patient takes effort and time. You might feel lonely or agitated sometimes. Routine care to the patient can reduce your frustration to an extent. The guide will help you with ways to support a patient living with dementia.

 

 

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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