by: Shane Michael Dalton
Firstly, It is important that someone who has been diagnosed with dementia remains as independent as possible and continues to carry out their normal activities and any occupation for as long as they possibly can.
While people with mild dementia often experience problems with short-term memory, they may recall memories from the distant past. Looking at old photographs and keepsakes may lead to conversations about people and past events, and can be enjoyable for everyone involved.
It is very hard to cope for a person that suffers from this disease, so the care for dementia and support that they receive is vital to their well being. As the symptoms progresses and gradually destroy a person's ability to learn, reason or communicate, it is important for those around them to give constant reassurance, support and encouragement so that the person continues to live life as normally as they can.
People with advanced dementia may experience changes in their personality such as aggression, agitation, anxiety. They may also suffer from hallucinations or delusions such as people in the house or garden. If this happens they can become very worried and upset about the situation as it is very real to them and it can take a great deal of reassurance to calm things down.
If you are caring for someone with vascular dementia or Alzheimer's disease, the following tips will to help you to cope:
- Make sure you have time for your friends and relatives so that you see new faces and have someone to talk to if you need it. Find someone to watch over your charge, perhaps a relative or friend, whilst you have some to do what you want to do and avoid getting isolated.
- Join a support group that is focused on care for dementia so that you can meet other people in a similar situation. You know you are not struggling on alone when you can talk to others going through the same difficulties.
- Try to keep things to a routine as people with dementia find changes difficult to cope with. Go out for walks and visit friends and keep to as normal a life as possible.
- Create memory aides such as boxes of favourite things that you can open and talk about together. Don't worry if the information that comes back to you seems 'different', it is probably making perfect sense to them, and as long as they are happy, live with it.
- Be flexible, things will change as the disease progresses. For example, if the person you are caring for does not want to, or cannot do something in one way, try another. Adapt, don't make an issue about it.
- Be prepared for changes in your loved one's personality. Remember it is the illness doing this and not the person you care about.
- Learn as much as you can about the illness as this knowledge will help you to cope with things as they arise. New treatments are coming along all the time, keep abreast of developments. Dementia is a cruel illness that robs you of the person you love and this can be particularly heart breaking for those involved in care for dementia. However, just occasionally you may have a glimpse of the 'old' person that you loved and makes for very special heart warming moments whilst caring for them.
Over the course of the disease, knowledgeable care and support can improve the quality of life for you and the person that you are caring for from the beginning to the end so make sure that you get the help you need and take all the support offered.
Discover more about care for the elderly and visit the National Care Line athttp://www.thenationalcareline.org. Here at this non profit website you will be able to access huge resources about care together with a free phone helpline.http://www.thenationalcareline.org/index.php?node=Caring+for+Someone+with+Dementia.