Caring for a loved one with dementia can seem an overwhelming task. Listed below are some simple tips to help ease the stress you may feel and help provide better care. Since dementia is a progressive disease it is important to try and help your loved one maintain their independence; while making sure they feel supported.
- Establish a routine- This a key component to helping a loved one with dementia thrive. By setting a routine they are able to know what to expect of their day which lessens the feelings of anxiety. Routine also helps ease negative behaviors.
- Understand triggers that induce stress- Know which things are going to upset or unsettle them and try to avoid whenever possible.
- Stay calm when dealing with your loved one, arguing or reasoning will not work and only adds stress to both parties.
- Before speaking make sure you get their attention, face them, and use clear concise sentences.
- Try using memory aids such as medication reminder boxes, routine checklists, large digital clocks to help stay in the present, as well as photos to remember their past.
Warning Signs: Listed below are a few common symptoms of dementia. It is important that if you suspect you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of dementia that you seek a health care professional. A doctor will be able to give a diagnosis as well as help with the next steps and moving forward.
- Memory loss that affects day to day life
- Difficulties with problem solving and planning: such as balancing a checkbook or paying bills.
- Feelings of confusion about place or time. People with dementia can forget dates and have trouble remembering where they are.
- Impaired judgement, such as mishandling money or dressing oddly.
- Continually misplacing items and an inability to retrace steps in order to find them.
- Changes in personality. People with dementia are more likely to express confusion and frustration as well as depressed or anxious mood.
While there is no clear cut way to prevent dementia; it has been found that by leading a healthy lifestyle could decrease your risk of the disease. Some ways to promote this is by:
- Maintaining a healthy diet and weight. Make sure to get certain key nutrients such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Also, try and get vitamin D, which we need more of as we age.
- Cut back on salt, too much sodium in your diet will lead to higher blood pressure.
- Stay hydrated, it is recommended that people over 65 consume 2 Liters of fluids each day.
- Exercise regularly. It is recommended that seniors get 150 minutes of exercise per week. Which breaks down to as little as 10 minutes of activity 7 days a week.
- Quit smoking (if you do smoke). A report from the World Health Organization found that the risk of developing dementia is 45% higher in those who smoke.
- Reduce stress. This will greatly lower your risk; since having high levels of stress has been known to cause an early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.