How to help a relative with dementia

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Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive conditions affecting the brain. Although there are over 200 different subtypes of dementia, the most common are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Dementia is a condition that is often associated with people living into very old age. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with dementia, you will know what a devastating diagnosis this is for the person and their family. However, with some assistance, they can continue to lead a happy, relatively independent life for as long as possible. Here are some ways that you can help a relative with dementia.

Make their home dementia friendly

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion, and difficulty learning new things. This may mean that a person with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to navigate their own home, forgetting where they are, where particular household items are, and how things work. Small adjustments can be made to make a home more dementia friendly. For instance, improving lighting can help to reduce confusion and the risk of falls. Placing labels and signs around the home can help people with dementia to navigate their home and easily locate commonly-used items and rooms. Make sure that signs are clear, with both wording and an appropriate picture.

Consider moving them into to a senior living community

If your relative requires more assistance in completing their day-to-day tasks, like dressing themselves and cooking, a good option for them might be to move to a senior living community. Many communities provide a dedicated memory care village that is designed with the specific needs of people living with dementia in mind. Residents follow a program that is tailored to their needs and designed to keep them active, engaged and mentally stimulated in a supportive sociable environment. According to Brightview Rockville senior living, these individually-tailored programs maximize residents’ independence and create a brighter, more harmonious neighborhood for people with dementia to live in to increase quality of life.

Learn how to communicate with a person with dementia

As dementia progresses, the person will experience increasing difficulties with their memory and cognitive functions, which can make it hard for them to retain information and communicate in fluid sentences. It is important that you learn techniques for communicating with a person with dementia to ensure that their needs are met and to prevent them from becoming isolated.

Speak clearly and calmly by using short, simple sentences that do not overload the person with information, and go at a slightly slower pace if they are having trouble following you. Allow time between the sentences so that the person can process the information. Do not speak to the person as you would to a child and do not lose your temper with them – be patient in your communications and always treat them with dignity and respect. While a dementia diagnosis is worrying, there are many steps you can take to improve the situation. Talk to your doctor, and search online for help groups to access support.


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