Dementia is an umbrella term for diseases that cause the loss of cognitive abilities. The disease can be stressful and frightening, both for someone experiencing it and for their caregivers. Unfortunately, dementia is far from rare. One in every 14 people over the age of 65 will develop some form of dementia, and people over the age of 80 have a one in six chance of developing it. This is why it’s important for people with dementia, their family members, and their home caregivers to understand how to ease the symptoms of dementia.
Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. There is currently no cure. It is caused by the death of cells in the brain, or by other damage to the brain. Alzheimer's disease is the best-known and most common type of dementia; as many as seven out of 10 cases of dementia are due to Alzheimer's disease. Other types of dementia are Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and vascular dementia. The symptoms of these different diseases vary, but all of them cause impairments in cognitive skills such as memory, problem-solving ability, and language use.
Dementia is tough to deal with — there's no way around it. People with dementia may become confused or frightened, even in familiar situations. Living independently can become a struggle. Family members and home caregivers may have a hard time communicating and connecting with someone who has dementia. But there are a number of ways to ease the symptoms of dementia and improve the person's quality of life and care. These home care tips can help someone with dementia feel safer and happier on a day-to-day basis.
1. Have the support of home care services.
Dementia can make it difficult for a person to continue living independently. They may still be perfectly physically capable of living alone, but if they frequently get confused or forget where they are, living alone can become scary or even dangerous for them. Everyday tasks, like cooking and housework, can also become difficult for somebody with dementia.
Hiring a home caregiver is a good solution in a case like this. With the help of a home caregiver, a person with dementia can continue living in their own home, which is usually the best option for their well-being. A home caregiver can provide some much-needed relief for family members, and they can help with routine tasks like cleaning, meal preparation, and transportation. They can provide emotional support for the person with dementia while making sure they stay safe. All in all, home care is an ideal way to make sure someone gets all the care they need without putting them through a stressful move.
2. Get some exercise.
Exercise is great for the brain, so it's not surprising that it can help relieve dementia symptoms. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation throughout the body, and stimulates the growth of new cells in the brain, all of which can help slow down the progression of dementia. Exercise is also a potent mood-booster that lowers a person's risk for depression, so it can help people with dementia maintain a positive outlook on life.
Any type of exercise can be beneficial, especially cardiovascular exercise. Walking and swimming are two excellent options. Dancing, yoga, and tai chi are also good choices. For people with limited mobility, even seated exercises can be helpful. A home caregiver can assist with these activities.
3. Make or appreciate art.
Communication and emotional connection can be difficult for people with dementia and their caregivers. Art helps to bridge that gap. Creative expression is a great way for people to tap into their memories and communicate their feelings.
Drawing and painting can be very therapeutic for people with dementia. Singing or playing an instrument can also help people reconnect with their memories. For people who don't want to make art, appreciating art offers many of the same benefits. Try discussing a painting or listening to a favorite music album from the past.
4. Reminisce about the past.
Many people with dementia have more problems with short-term memory than long-term memory. In other words, they might remember the distant past better than they remember the last hour. Talking about these past memories can be very comforting. Reminiscing about good times gives people something happy to focus on, and it helps them maintain a secure sense of identity.
Family members and home caregivers can help someone with dementia reminisce by asking them questions about the past, such as, "What was it like to move here when you were first married?" Using props can also help encourage someone with dementia to open up about their memories. For instance, flipping through an old photo album can help spur an afternoon of conversation about the past.
5. Pursue favorite hobbies.
Dementia doesn't have to cause a person to lose their hobbies. In fact, pursuing hobbies is an excellent way for people to continue feeling relatively independent and competent. Trying new hobbies can also be rewarding and enjoyable.
Home caregivers and family members can help loved ones with dementia by encouraging them to keep doing the things they've always enjoyed doing, from cooking to crafts to watching movies. If a favorite hobby, like reading novels or doing crossword puzzles, has become difficult or frustrating for the person with dementia, finding simpler versions of the activity may help. As time goes by, someone with dementia may not be able to participate in hobbies as independently as they used to, but they may still be able to enjoy these activities with some help.
Home Care Services for Seniors with Dementia
Dementia can be a difficult disease to live with, but for people with dementia, good home care services can make a big difference to quality of life. There's no cure for dementia, but there are a number of things that can help ease the symptoms of the disease and even slow down its progression. Exercise, reminiscing about fond memories, creative therapy, and adequate support at home can all help people with dementia feel happier and more secure in their day-to-day life.
Do you or a loved one need a home caregiver? Please reach out to us about our home care services.