Dementia is a condition that involves someone losing their cognitive abilities, but is not the same as the normal levels of cognitive weakening that are a part of the aging process. At times dementia can have a progressive effect due to damage or disease, and can stay the same should the sufferer have at one time had an injury to their brain. Most cases of Dementia happen in older people, but can as well occur prior to aging. This is known as early onset dementia.

Caring for someone with dementia can be tricky both emotionally and physically. If you are caring for a person living with dementia, it is advisable to talk to a physician. Most caregivers can tell you that dementia causes more than mere memory loss. The disease often results in behavioural changes, from loss of interest in past hobbies and simple recurring behaviours to severe anxiety, false ideas and hallucinations, violence and inhibition loss. Here are three fundamental reasons why you should think of dementia care:

  1. Dementia sufferers may forget to drink or eat

The drinking and eating habits of a person living with dementia must be cautiously monitored whether or not they live in their personal home or an aged care home. Reason for this is because dementia sufferers may forget to drink or eat, and may likewise find it difficult to swallow and/or chew. To assist you manage their nutrition and eating needs, ask their doctors to check there is not a treatable cause of appetite loss, like depression, acute illness or denture pain. Try phone call or an alarm to remind them about mealtimes, serve only one meal at a time and the food must be known to them. Also, the meals and snacks must be served regularly, probably 5-6 small meals per day and do not use plates with patterns.

  1. Proper Hygiene

You may discover that dementia sufferers lose interest in keeping up their personal hygiene. When this happens, be patient and encouraging about bathing, ensuring there is adequate light and warmth in the bathroom. Play soothing music if they like this, and select for them, the most favourable time of day for their personal care. For instance, they may be soother in the morning so this might be the ideal time to look after their needs. In addition, offer limited choices, like the choice between a shower and a bath, and always use simple step-by-step instructions. Other hygiene needs they may need assistance with are shaving, toileting, providing fresh clothes, cleaning ears and maintaining dental care.

  1. Continence needs

When someone has dementia, the functionality of their brain decline which may result in incontinence (the term used to explain the loss of bowel and/or bladder control). This is because the ability to control these functions depends greatly on being conscious of bodily sensations like the feeling of having a full bladder and the memory of where, when and how to respond. There are several approaches to managing incontinence including respecting dignity and privacy of the sufferer in what can be a embarrassing situation. To manage their continence needs, monitor patterns of when the person empties their bowel and/or bladder and utilize this pattern at regular intervals to remind them, to go to the toilet. Look out for non-verbal clues like increased agitation and pulling on clothes. When this occurs, use simple, short words to advise they visit the toilet. Also ensure the bathroom is not very far away, the toilet paper can be seen easily and the bed is not too high to get in and out of.

Conclusively, it is also essential for caregivers to care for themselves. They should practice ways to alleviate stress whenever they are angry and frustrated. If a caregiver becomes angry or frustrated, it is recommended to find someone else to handle the problem so the caregiver can leave the vicinity. An angry and frustrated caregiver will only heap on problem behaviours.

Working with home care services can be a huge relief to besieged family caregivers who require a little break to care for themselves to avoid burning out.

Author information:
Nefr Israel 

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