Basic Guide to Deal with Dementia: Taking a relook
“The hardest thing is watching somebody you love, forget that they love you,” says Ruhi a college student as she recollects how her grandma used to wait for her school bus daily without fail. The sad truth of the matter is that she slowly is losing her grandmother to Alzheimer’s and she feels powerless to fight this disease. It is the third-largest cause of death among senior citizens. We are writing this article on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s day 2020 to tell young caregivers like Ruhi to not lose hope and believe that there is a brighter future ahead.
I hope that fear of the unknown may be alleviated through enlightenment, this article will quickly run you through the basic must know, regarding dementia and take a relook at addressing primary dementia caregiver concerns.
As you probably already know, people with dementia suffer from the inability to think and remember which can get severe enough to affect daily functioning. This article is going through the subject in a cursory manner, so if you are interested in getting a detailed account on the matter here is the Wikipedia link. I must warn you though that it makes it seem pretty bleak.
Dementia vs Alzheimer’s? Dementia is a group of brain diseases. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. The treatments vary of each type so quality medical attention is a must.
However depressing it may sound, there is no cure for dementia, and treatments that claim to slow the onset of dementia are yet to be proven. Drugs with side effects, and behavioral interventions, are only to help manage symptoms and behaviors that may cause additional burden to the caregivers or the patient.
Dementia onsets in 4 stages and the first 2 stages the patient would be able to live alone. In the first stage, the symptoms are subtle and you would not notice anything odd. In the second stage, the patient would need prompting and would not be able to handle complex tasks.
Cognitive/ Learning abilities would have declined to an extent that they would not be able to retain any new information in the 3rd stage. They cannot function outside a familiar environment, primarily their home, and should not be left alone. They may be able to do some simple tasks around the house but will need assistance for personal care and hygiene beyond simple reminders.
The 4th stage will require 24-hour supervision and the patient would no longer recognize familiar faces. They will need assistance with all of their personal care to reduce choking risk, to prevent weight loss, to go to the bathroom, to prevent falls and wandering.
A Relook at Dementia
Forgive our matter of fact attitude in conveying the basics of dementia. There are many things that you can do that could turn the experience more rewarding, and make the journey smoother.
Care for the Caregiver
- Educate and provide emotional support to the caregiver.
- Plan the care giver’s finances, dementia is one of the most expensive diseases.
- Home care is a cheaper option but early remodeling is a must.
- Evaluate and shop for assistive devices and technology that can ease the caregiver’s burden and worries.
- Plan for the future since the caregiver is mostly busy firefighting the present situation.
The Care Giver’s short notes
You already know it is not going to be easy but know that you are not alone.
- Specialized care centers can provide a level of care that you could never provide.
- Share the work, hire someone to help around the home.
- Seek emotional support.
- Seek help to keep an eye on your wellbeing, from someone like a personal trainer or a life coach.
Plan interventions ahead of time
- Cognitive decline is imminent and learning new things will be impossible so early cognitive interventions will yield huge benefits as things get worse.
- Physical exercise programs can improve outcomes and will help retain the physical well being of the patient much longer and ease of performing daily activities.
- Mental exercise programs are said to slow cognitive decline and will help the patients in the early stages stay engaged.
- Treatment with antipsychotics to manage behavioral problems is common and may be considered despite an increased risk of death.
As a care provider, you have an army working to help you so do not lose hope. Dementia affects 6% of the seniors over 65 and you are not alone. Government-backed bodies, NGOs, and multiple private companies are working furiously toward solving problems related to dementia care. They offer a wide array of financial, medical, and technology products and services to meet your needs. As a company that provides senior citizen monitoring solutions to caregivers, we would like you to share our hope that technology is rapidly improving and it can make life better for caregivers and patients alike.
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