June 23, 2024

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How to Care for Dementia Sufferers

The number of individuals who have ADRD is growing rapidly. The current U.S. population represents about five million. According the Alzheimer’s Association, 75{1bba59ef0f837d981c3bbc138a719a91ccf1421d7c126b09b2d5ffa1685c30db} of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia are still living in their household. It is so important for us to realize the steps and actions that need to be taken in order to care for this vastly growing population.

First, start by thinking of your everyday routine. We start the day by taking a shower, we may also cook, exercise, shop, drive a car etc. These are typical activities that we seem to take for granted. Individuals with dementia find great difficulty in completing any one of these tasks, although they still may have the energy to do so. We often do not realize how these tasks impact their lives. Think about how your world would be affected if you could no longer efficiently complete these activities. This is the reality of someone living with dementia.

Tips for caregivers

As a home health aide, when interacting with a dementia sufferer, you may want to consider having them participate in a 5-30 minute activity that is targets their cognitive level and peaks their interest. Be creative, and think about what activities they enjoyed doing, and keep a simple activity schedule every day. Although it may seem that they do not know you, it is important to ease their anxiety by presenting them with familiar objects. Another approach is to play calming music and take them for regular walks to build communication skills and prevent them from wandering off.

Tips for family members

The idea that your close relative no longer knows you can be disheartening. However, you do still know them, and it is imperative that you carry the shift in the relationship, appropriately. Use your knowledge to present them with objects and ask questions about the past to help them make sense of their thoughts. Some examples of what questions you may want to consider are; “What did you used to do for your birthday?” Or, show them a family photo and ask; “Who is in this picture?” When completing a task, ask them; “Can you tell me if I am doing this correctly?” Or, “How should I do this?” You should also keep lights around the house lit. Take time to get to know them, again. To them, you’ll be their new best friend and you will see their improvement from your personal home care.

You will find that this transition can be a difficult one, regardless as to whether or not you’re a caregiver for a home health care service or family member of someone suffering from dementia. The steps and strategies that are involved may not work, initially. This will be a trial and error process, so you must be patient and not become discouraged. Also, please remember that it is a requirement that dementia sufferers wear an identification bracelet for the unfortunate circumstance that they wander and become lost.