When dementia begins to set in, you may notice disturbing new behaviors in your aging loved one. Dementia doesn’t just bring about memory loss, and the secondary symptoms associated with dementia can be quite difficult to understand, let alone deal with. As a caregiver for someone with dementia, you may find it confusing to know what care you should be providing.
Patients with dementia often have trouble with communication, and may communicate with anger or sarcasm. This is often due to their own feelings of frustration, or it could be they are experiencing secondary symptoms of dementia associated with behavioral issues.
When someone with dementia says something that is not factually correct, the temptation is to explain to them what is actually going on. This may lead to confusion and frustration on the part of the person with dementia. Before caregivers correct the person with dementia, they should think about how important it is for the person to know they are wrong. If it’s not that important, caregivers can just play along and make the person with dementia feel good that they have someone who listens to them.
Dementia is a condition of the brain that can affect personality and behavior. The dementia patient may behave in unfamiliar ways that cause concern. These changes in behavior may include physical aggression toward the caregiver, self, or others, and may also include an unwillingness to get out of bed, wandering, or drastic mood swings. When choosing an assisted living care home for your loved one with dementia, make sure the facility has guidelines and precautions in place to compassionately and effectively deal with the common behavioral issues related to dementia.
Many times people with dementia think they will be perfectly fine staying at home. They don’t need the care. It’s very hard for someone to admit they can’t be on their own anymore. Because of this, many of the residents who come to our homes demand to go home during the first couple of days of their stay. It makes it even more difficult if the resident’s family is with them during this transition period. We highly recommend to our families that they need to stay away from visiting their loved one for a couple of days to a week after move-in. After that the resident is usually pretty well adjusted and the family can start regular visits.
Personal Hygiene Issues
Dementia patients have something in common with depressed persons in that they may have problems maintaining personal hygiene. You may find that your loved one with dementia either forgets to groom himself or herself or shows no desire to do so. In these instances, it’s imperative that a caregiver or hired professional monitor personal hygiene habits and be prepared to step in when necessary to make sure the dementia patient is physically cared for. Depending on the level of dementia, this care may include:
- Washing and combing hair
- Brushing teeth
- Tending to toilet cleanliness
- Clipping nails
- Trimming excess hair
Some people are surprised to learn that dementia patients can forget how to eat. They may lose an interest in eating, forget meal times, or even forget how to use a knife and fork. Healthy nutrition is a critical component of caring for a dementia patient, and the caregiver or paid professional must take steps to ensure that daily nutritional intake is being managed and recorded. In this way, the dementia patient will have the best possible prognosis for the future.
There are many foods that can help slow-down the progression of dementia. Please feel free to contact us if you would like some recommendations.
Caring for a dementia patient can be extremely challenging, especially for a family or friend caregiver, who must also manage their own personal life and job responsibilities. Understanding dementia, and the special care needs that may arise are the first steps to helping a loved one that may be in the beginning stages of dementia.