The initial thoughts after knowing that you or your loved one is suffering from a progressively degenerative disease like dementia can be very frightening and overwhelming.
To what extent can the disease impact your life? How fast can it progress? How can one control the symptoms? Is it reversible? These are few of the questions that involuntarily creep up in the mind. Caring for someone with dementia can also take a toll on a person’s health and social life.
Here are some of the practical ways that can help cope up, if you or a loved one is diagnosed with dementia.
- Speak up and share the challenges you are facing in day-to-day activities for proper treatment. Find out about therapies or activities that can be beneficial to deal with memory loss and other symptoms.
- Try to find out about the specific type of dementia you or a loved one is suffering from to better understand future challenges and treatment options.
- Have an organised schedule for regular check-ups with your GP or therapist
- Regular exercise and balanced diet also help in maintaining an upbeat health.
- Appoint a caregiver to attend to your health, medical and psychological needs.
- Get in touch with support group and community help group to find out about local services for you and your carer.
- Talk to family members and seek their support. Stay connected to friends.
Here are some of the ways to ease up the challenges faced in daily rituals when you are caring for a loved one.
- It i important to set in familiarity in day-to-day activities. Setting a daily activity schedule like walk, lunch, etc, as well as things like reiterating your name to the patient during your daily visit can help breed familiarity, comfort, confidence, sense of safety and trust.
- Keep a track of patterns which trigger or heighten the symptoms like confusion, agitation or irritation. This can include things like time of the day, person, absence of favourite foods, piece of clothing or jewelery etc.
- Practice good communication. In repetitive conversations, clarifying and rewording questions can help.
- Dementia patients tend to forget things which can be hazardous for themselves or others. For e.g. keeping the gas or electric iron on or wandering out leaving the door open etc. Monitoring their movements with installed sensors can help keeping the loved one and home safe
The most important thing one can do as a caregiver is find support with friends, family and other support groups, who can share some of the tasks and responsibilities and make it easier to cope up with dementia.