Dementia is a condition where a person suffers from mild to severe mental disability. It is a very general condition that encompasses other disorders like memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease. Over time, the condition worsens and strongly affects the life of the patient.
According to statistics, dementia has a 7.1% prevalence rate among individuals aged 65 and above. In fact, in the UK over 40,000 patients are diagnosed with early onset dementia. By 2025, experts project that the total number of patients will rise to about 1 million.
The condition is not only difficult for the patients, but also for their loved ones. Oftentimes, family members struggle in helping their patients with dementia. Here are a few ways that can help you manage the illness better, especially if you want to have your loved one with you at home.
- Learn more about dementia. Learning more about the illness is the most crucial step to helping patients effectively. As much as possible, you can reach out to your local health centre for free resources about dementia and other similar mental disorders. By understanding the disorder, you can respond to the needs of the patient easier and know what situations to expect. Apart from free resources, try to learn from other families who have the same situation as yours.
- Join support groups. Support groups are excellent sources of information and emotional support. It can be very tough to take care of your parents or grandparents with dementia, so you will definitely need all the help you can get. Support groups can also help you connect with local organisations that can provide additional educational and medical resources.
- Assess your own mental and physical health. Studies show that caregivers who attend to dementia patients have a high risk of developing depression and other similar mental problems. Make sure that you get ample rest and assistance from other family members in order to avoid burning out. Try to engage in physical and social activities to manage the mental and emotional stress.
- Create a schedule for rituals. Many families prefer dementia care at home because it is cheaper and more convenient. However, this practice entails a lot of patience and discipline. You can create a framework of small activities for the patient. A few examples of small activities you can assign to them are folding clothes, arranging groceries in the pantry or helping with household chores. This can help boost their self-esteem and improve their mood. You can also schedule activities like baking, dancing, singing and playing board games or cards, depending on the patient’s capability. Assign tasks that they can do in order to reassure that they are still useful.
- Seek professional help. One of the best ways to deliver successful and proper care is to avail of the services of professionals who specialise in dementia care at home. Your loved one will have the best care while still in your care at home.
Having a loved one with dementia is not easy, but with proper understanding and support, you will make him or her feel your love despite the illness.
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