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Looking After a Dementia Sufferer: 5 Tips

Dementia can be a symptom of several different conditions, e.g., Alzheimer’s. It impacts the body in many ways, but the most well-known symptom is memory loss and reduced problem-solving abilities. The impact of dementia on an individual and their family can be devastating as their condition deteriorates over time. However, many people choose to become a caregiver for a relative who develops dementia despite the challenges and emotional strain. If you consider taking on this responsibility or are already acting as a caregiver, here are five tips to keep in mind when looking after someone suffering from dementia.  

1. Remember to ask for help

Being a caregiver for a relative can be emotionally draining and stressful, and it can also be an isolating way to live. Caregivers must ask for help when they need it, whether they ask friends, family, or professional services such as respite caregivers or in-home help. There are also several forums and support groups for caregivers that can provide essential advice and an opportunity to share experiences, voice worries, and vent frustrations. 

2. Be compassionate and empathetic

It is always good to be a patient, compassionate, and empathetic person, but these qualities are particularly important for caregivers. Dementia can cause people to become confused, so much so that they are not aware of the time period they are living in. They may believe that they are much younger, and in some cases, they may stop recognizing their loved ones. The confusion, anxiety, and isolation can cause people with dementia to become angry and aggressive. Remaining patient and compassionate during these times can be difficult, but it is important to be able to put yourself in their position.

3. Prepare for their condition to deteriorate

Caring for someone with dementia is likely to become more difficult over time, and there will be ups and downs on the way. There might be instants when it feels like you have your loved one back, only for their dementia to return full force. While it is important to treasure the good times, you need to be realistic that there is no cure, and their condition will deteriorate. Your role is to make them feel as safe, calm, and comfortable as you can. 

4. Stay alert to changes

The only part of dementia on which you can depend is that change is inevitable. When you feel that you understand their needs and are in a routine, they will develop a new symptom or shift state of mind. At some point, your loved one might require professional care in a specialist facility such as Highland Park senior living where they will receive memory care which meets their increasing needs. 

5. Understand the complexity of dementia

While memory loss is the earliest and most common symptom of dementia, it is not the only issue to be aware of. Dementia can also cause several physical symptoms when certain parts of the brain become affected. In some cases, people living with dementia will start to exhibit new personality traits, or they might become aggressive, paranoid, or experience delusions. Eventually, people living with dementia can struggle to perform basic tasks such as dressing, eating, bathing, or even speaking and walking.