Caring for a patient with dementia is as demanding as anyone would expect. It’s estimated that at one point in their lives, 33.33% of seniors from American countries are identified with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related problems.
This means that many Americans are living with dementia that makes millions of people become caregivers to provide additional support and care to the patients.
When a relative or family member is diagnosed with this condition, it can be very traumatizing for them and very challenging for you as you find the best possible way to help such a dear person get along with life.
What should you do to ensure that the person gets enough support and care?
This article gives four-steps that can help caregivers and family members provide the necessary support and care to persons diagnosed with dementia-related conditions.
1. Understand the Type of Dementia
The fact that one has dementia doesn’t mean that he/she has Alzheimer’s disease, although it’s known that about 65% to 85% of patients with dementia are also identified with Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is caused by many other problems such as the nervous system infection (Creutzfeldt-Jakob-Disease, HIV, and Meningitis), traumatic brain-injuries (brought about by concussions, accidents, and etc), continued drug and alcohol use, neurological diseases(Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.), and among others.
“Despite what may be commonly thought, dementia is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of symptoms in combination that reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities” According to Jane Byrne, Project Coordinator at FirstCare.ie.
Additionally, you need to know the type of dementia your patient is suffering from.
Dementia is of two types:
- Subcortical dementias which affect the thinking speed and capacity to perform the daily activities (HIV, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the major causes);
- and Cortical-dementias which affects a person’s language and memory. This type can cause one to suffer severe memory loss and fail to understand the common language.
Knowing the cause and type of dementia should be the first step to get started as a caregiver. This will help you make a good care plan and support for your patient.
2. Accept External Support
You should be ready to accept any help from external sources. It doesn’t matter whether the person you’re giving care and support for is a family member, friend, relative, or if you’re hired as a caregiver.
Majority of people will volunteer to give support in form of money, food, medical support, caregiving supplies, security, and etc.
And since all this can be very expensive, you should never be reluctant to ask for additional support wherever necessary.
3. Empathise Actively
Generally, patients living with dementia are often confused about reality and even unsure of themselves as well as the time period they are currently living. Additionally, they may remember things which are not realistic or that didn’t occur. You should give them enough empathy without trying to convince them that they’re wrong.
Regardless of what they’re feeling or doing, always be at their beck and call and stay focused on whatever they’re demonstrating. Respond to them with great affection and reassurance often with physical and verbal expressions.
Hug, hold hands, touch and praise them in any way especially when everything else seems not to work. Remember that empathy and compassion are the starting points of an ideal care and support.
4. Address the Current Situations
As a caregiver, one is subjected to many challenges some of which are inevitable. You should, therefore, plan all the problems your family is facing when caring for your loved one with dementia.
You can use the Alzheimer’s website (www.alz.org) to help you get along with the current issues.
The above Alzheimer’s online platform will help you plan situations related to communication, money and medical management, safety, and Emotional health of the patient.
Get all your questions answered by experts about the problems you’re facing as a caregiver.
When offering support and care for a dementia patient, you should be a realistic caregiver, always understand the patient’s current situations, maintain the actual sense of humor, reply with great affection, ask questions that are simple and answerable and most of all listen to them with your heart, eyes, and ears. Noble Care also has dementia care services if you are looking for a care giver.