You might not consider yourself a caregiver, especially if the person with dementia is a partner, parent, or close friend. However, both you and the person with dementia will require assistance to cope with the symptoms and behavioral changes. It's a good idea to make sure you're registered as a caregiver with your primary care physician. This registration allows you to receive appropriate treatment if needed and may also help you find other caregivers who are interested in joining forces with you.
If you think you might be able to provide some type of care for your mother or father with dementia, it's important to understand what this means exactly. Caregiving for someone with dementia involves providing physical, emotional, and financial support as well as supervision of daily activities. It can be very difficult work, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can enjoy the benefits later in life. Caregivers often report a reduction in their own health problems and an increase in their sense of happiness and satisfaction with their lives.
People with dementia often experience memory problems, so helping them remember things like appointments or names of friends and family members can be important. You can provide memories or clues to help the person remember by keeping a diary of events together with notes about what was said during each conversation. This can help the person feel involved in his or her own life again instead of being stuck in the past.
Dementia affects a person's ability to communicate effectively, which makes social interactions difficult.
5 Fundamentals of Caring for Someone With Dementia
Here are some key things to keep in mind as you prepare to take on the position of dementia caregiver:
If you observe dementia signs in someone you know or are concerned about their memory, you should encourage them to consult their doctor. The GP might refer them for evaluation to determine the root cause of the difficulties. This information will assist you in discussing your worries with someone about whom you are concerned.
The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better its outcome. There are different types of dementia and they can be detected by conducting a complete medical history including questions about cognitive problems, as well as performing a physical examination and various tests, such as brain imaging studies.
Family members need to understand that although there is no cure for dementia, there are many treatments that can help individuals manage their symptoms. It is important to get support when dealing with issues related to dementia; counseling services are available at local Alzheimer's Association chapters or through other organizations that provide caregiving resources.
Physical exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function in those who suffer from dementia. Exercise programs should include balance and walking exercises to maintain muscle strength and reduce the risk of falls. Participation in mental activities, such as learning new skills or playing games, can also help people with dementia maintain their cognitive abilities for longer periods of time. Activities that involve all five senses, such as taking walks down memory lanes by visiting places from one's past, can benefit those who have dementia by giving them opportunities to socialize and engage with their environments.
In an ideal world, the person with dementia would make the decision to enter residential or nursing care on their own. They should always be granted any assistance they need to do so, as much as feasible. The choice to place someone in a care home is frequently made in an emergency or on short notice. It is not a choice that can easily be avoided.
People usually choose a care home because there are no other options and nothing else has been done about the problem. Of course, you could try to find help through family, friends, charities, etc., but if these attempts fail then it must be admitted that there is no alternative to care homes.
There are two types of care homes in the UK: private and public. Private care homes are owned by individuals or businesses and they can accept residents as guests or employees. Public care homes are owned by local authorities or nonprofit organizations and they can only accept residents as paying customers. There are also mixed care homes that accept both guests and residents.
Residents in care homes are usually older people who cannot live alone anymore because of illness, disability, or old age. They may have problems remembering things, making decisions, or taking care of themselves that last year or even a few months' time didn't reveal. Sometimes all that's needed to move a resident into a care home is for them to lose their house keys or forget where they put some clothes.