Dementia patients have similar emotional needs that they had even before the onset of their ailment. They want to be a part of meaningful activities and live a life free of stress and anxiety.
You may offer care to your friend or relative in an aged care residence or at home. But giving proper support and care may not be very easy. Here is everything about dementia and how you can provide emotional support for dementia patients.
What Happens In Dementia?
Wondering what exactly happens in dementia? This is a condition in which a person suffers a loss of cognitive functions. These include thinking, remembering, and reasoning. Since they have impaired cognitive functioning, they face trouble doing their day-to-day chores.
Some people experience mild dementia, while others go through a severe stage. It is only the start of cognitive function impairment at the mildest stage of dementia. But the most severe stage leaves the person dependent on others for the basic tasks of daily life.
Dementia is becoming more common nowadays, all across the world. One-third of the total population who are 85 or older might have some type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of the same condition.
Dementia symptoms show up when formerly healthy neurons in the brain stop functioning. They lose connections with other cells in the brain and die. Since every person loses some neurons as they grow older, patients suffering from dementia lose more.
Depending on the form of dementia, the signs can be the following:
- Difficulty in speaking, expressing ideas, interpreting, and reading and writing
- Wandering and being disoriented in a familiar neighborhood
- Having trouble using money wisely and paying debts
- Confusion, memory loss, and lapses in judgment
- Repetition of questions
- Using unfamiliar terms to describe familiar objects
- Loss of interest in daily activities or events
- Delusions, Hallucinations, or paranoia
Changes In The Behavior Of A Dementia Patient
The condition of the person progresses with time. A person suffering from dementia might begin to behave in ways that are distressing and challenging. These behaviors can occur in both patients and those giving care. A dementia patient may show the following changes:
- Become distrustful of others
- Follow someone around
- Shout out or scream
- Become restless or agitated
- Ask the same questions again and again
These out-of-character behaviors may arise when someone has an unmet need and cannot convey it. They may feel:
- Thirsty or hungry
- Bored or frustrated
- Misunderstood and threatened
Caregiving Tips For Dementia Patients
Are you someone who is looking after a dementia patient? You may be having a hard time dealing with a wide range of emotions. Frustration, anger, guilt, and loneliness are examples of such emotions.
You should be polite and kind to yourself. This will let you better handle your caregiving responsibilities. Here are some helpful caregiving tips for dementia patients:
Create A Favorable Atmosphere For Good Conversation
Your body language conveys your feelings and emotions more effectively than what you say. So, you must make a good first impression by talking to your loved one nicely and courteously. To assist in conveying your message and showing your devotion, use facial expressions and physical touch.
Acquire The Individual’s Attention
Keep all the distractions at bay by turning off the television or radio, closing the doors or curtains, or moving to a calmer environment. Ensure you grab the attention of your loved one before speaking. Introduce yourself by name and relation, and keep their attention using nonverbal cues and touch.
Listen Carefully To What They Say
Show patience while waiting for the patient to react. It is fine to propose words if he or she is stuck for a response. Keep an eye out for nonverbal cues and gestures, and respond accordingly. Always try to comprehend the meaning and emotions that lay underneath the words.
Get Rid Of The Possible Hazards
Hazards like loose carpets, debris, and furnishings that might hinder their way. You should also check that the living space has good lighting and install grab bars in the handrails on stairs or bathrooms to prevent falls.
Make A Comfortable Living Space
A comfortable living space can help dementia patients lessen agitation and improve their way of living. Maintain a fine temperature in the room and give comfortable seats and bedding. Create a soothing mood by using soft lighting.
Aside from all the above-mentioned, keeping the dementia patient physically active is also crucial. Regular physical exercise can aid in reducing wandering and sleeplessness. It can even help them be distracted from agitation. Let us learn the tips to encourage physical activity.
How To Encourage Physical Activity In A Dementia Patient?
Taking part in physical exercises may also be beneficial for a dementia sufferer. Besides improving cognitive functioning, physical exercises can help lessen restlessness and aggression. On the whole, it can improve the overall health of the person.
Whenever you decide to add a new physical activity to your loved one’s routine, take the recommendation of an expert. Below, we have explained a few things on how to encourage physical activity:
Start With Low-Intensity Exercises
To start, you should consider low-intensity exercises like walking or stretching. Raise the intensity and duration of the movement as you see your loved one becoming comfortable.
Consider Using Visual Cues
Pictures or written notes are a few examples of visual cues. These can help dementia patients recall the activity and make it easier for them to take part.
Make The Activities Fun And Engaging
You should decide on the activities for your loved ones that make them joyous. Playing music while exercising or introducing games into their physical activities are ways to add fun.
Prioritize Social Interaction
Physical exercise can be a great place to meet new people. Since it will boost social interaction, you should encourage your loved one to join a group activity. You can even ask them to exercise with a family member or friend.
Offering support to a dementia sufferer can be quite challenging. With a safe and comfortable environment, you can ensure their best wellness and safety. Spending time and encouraging physical activity in their routine can also help. Other than that, it is crucial to educate them about dementia and other relatable conditions. This will help you understand their behaviors and wants.
Do you want a professional who can look after the dementia patient? Alnicor Consulting is a trustable provider of professional caregiving services. We offer 100 % safe and fully confidential emotional support sessions. For further details, reach out to us at 183-325-6267 or 18332111777.