Dementia, the loss of cognitive functioning, is a condition that affects many people. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, as of 2014, there is an estimated 5 million adults aged at least 65 with dementia. While the types of dementia in each case vary, the symptoms they experience are similar and the stress that caregivers face are alike. Here are some steps you can take to better deal with dementia and its symptoms when caring for your family member.
Listen And Assure
It is important you listen to your family member and assure them, even if you may not understand the reason for their confusion at that point in time. Reasoning with them is not effective as dementia prevents them from processing information as well as a healthy brain does. Comforting them would calm them down and prevent the manifestation of aggressive behaviors due to their confusion.
If they display signs of stress, you can try helping them calm down by playing soothing music or diverting their attention by doing relaxing activities such as looking at photo albums or reading books together. You may want to steer clear of the television as the sounds or the actions on screen may be a further trigger for their symptoms.
Change The Situation
Should your family member become agitated by sudden or loud sounds either from somewhere in your setting be it from the neighborhood, your television or radio, move them away to a quiet area or switch off the devices if those are the source of their discomfort. In situations where there are many people or unfamiliar people, this can be a cause of behavioral symptoms for your family member as well. In this case, you should distract them by giving them simple tasks to divert their attention to, such as folding clothes or drawing. Persons with dementia can also find darkness and shadows frightening, and end up feeling stressed by lighting. It is recommended to have a consistent source of lighting and keep the lighting soft in their home when the day starts to draw to a close and the sky becomes dark.
You should regularly speak with your family member’s healthcare professional or assisted living care providers to get professional advice on response methods or medications. This information would be helpful in the day-to-day care of your family member. However, as your family member’s dementia progresses, you may find it increasingly difficult to care for them and would require additional support caring for them. It is okay to seek help and start preparing for this situation in advance, such as having your loved one be cared for at retirement communities or hiring home care.
If you would like to consider retirement communities, Terrabella Hendersonville offers specially tailored care for persons with dementia with our Memory Care program. We use a holistic approach based on science to ensure that those residents with dementia get the proper care they require, and we keep their families involved and informed throughout the whole process. If you would like to understand more about the retirement community in person, you can schedule a tour by calling us today!