Do you have a family member who has been recently diagnosed with dementia? Or maybe your doctor broke the bad news and told you that you have this condition.
Dementia results from aging, and sadly, there’s no cure for it. However, there are effective strategies to slow down the progression of its signs and symptoms. Having dementia or living with someone who has been diagnosed with the disease can still enjoy life to the fullest.
In this article, learn the different ways to improve the quality of life for someone with dementia. Read on to find out!
- Provide High-Quality Care And Safe Living Environment
Newly diagnosed patients may show subtle signs of dementia. However, as dementia progresses, caring for someone with this disease can take a tremendous toll on the family caregiver’s physical and emotional well-being.
Families may decide later on to seek home care services. The best thing about dementia home care is that the patient can receive personalized care and attention as if they are just living in their family home. Healthcare providers of home care settings are highly specialized. Thus, they have a better understanding of how to support the patient and come up with activities that encourage interaction and stimulate the brain. This significantly reduces feelings of isolation for the patient and gives families peace of mind.
Caregivers should also make sure that the patient has a safe living environment. Over time, they may tend to forget how to keep themselves away from dangers at home. Thus, you have to be more mindful to reduce safety risks in their living spaces. Check electrical fixtures, appliances, and other safety hazards to ensure they don’t have peeled coverings or cracked housings. If you must, hire a professional electrician to fix exposed electrical outlets and wires. Installing mobility features, such as hand bars in toilets and staircases is also recommended.
- Open and Respectful Communication
A diagnosis of dementia causes a significant impact on an individual’s life and his family. They experience different emotions, including shock, disbelief, loss, grief, and anger. Eventually, families of patients with this neurologic condition must accept reality and establish a good relationship with them through proper communication.
Whether you’re a patient with dementia or are caring for a loved one with this condition, remember that communication becomes a challenge because the patient may become more irritable. Dementia patients have problems remembering recent events or what was said and following a conversation, which can add to communication issues.
Show respectful communication by speaking directly to your loved one. Address the patient by name to catch his attention. Don’t exclude the patient from conversations with others. Most of all, give the patient enough time to respond because expressing what he needs can be difficult. Your loved one needs attention and acknowledgment, so don’t disregard his feelings or emotions.
The key to having good communication with a dementia patient is patience.
- Guide In Social Engagement
Not because a person has dementia means the patient should stay at home all the time. Family members and caregivers should guide patients with this neurologic condition in social engagement to improve their quality of life. Whatever the situation, try to make them feel as normal as possible.
If you’re attending a social event with the patient, you can ask people to talk more slowly or repeat what they’ve said if your loved one doesn’t understand it. Make sure also to turn off distractions that can impede good listening, such as television and radio.
In terms of social activity, your parent or grandparent with dementia can also benefit from music therapy (singing or dancing with friends), art therapy (joining art classes), and pet therapy as forms of social activity. These activities, although simple, would have underlying benefits for them.
- Improve Everyday Functioning
Dementia can progress to Alzheimer’s disease, so, preparation is a must. Patients with dementia can improve their everyday functioning so their quality of life does not deteriorate. The same holds with caregivers or family members caring for them. Caregivers must equip themselves with the correct information on caring for patients with dementia.
Check these useful tips on how to help improve the everyday functioning of someone with dementia:
- Keep A Diary Or Journal: Use a week-to-view diary that contains all daily tasks and keep the diary in a place where the patient can easily see it, like by the telephone or the bedside table. Putting them in writing can help them exercise their memory.
- Set A Medication Reminder: A medication reminder box can help the patient keep track of the times and days to take medication. It also helps the patient determine whether he has already taken his medication or not, giving them a sense of responsibility.
- Get A Newspaper Delivery Subscription: Buying a newspaper every morning or getting newspapers delivered regularly at home can help someone with dementia keep track of dates and days.
- Maintain Good Nutrition
In a statistical report, about 82 million people will have dementia by 2030. For this reason, prioritizing physical is a must, including proper nutrition. Nerve cells in the brain or neurons need the right combination of nutrients to function properly such as B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s essential to provide adequate nourishment to the body of patients with dementia by eating healthy foods, such as whole grains, lean protein foods, fruits, low-fat dairy products, fish, and vegetables for brain health. Limit red meat, margarine, butter, cheese, sweets, pastries, and fried food.
Aside from good nutrition, dementia patients can also benefit from light exercises such as aerobics, walking, and cycling.
Improving the quality of life of people with dementia involves a holistic approach. Establishing good relationships can boost social engagement and improve everyday functioning. It’s also crucial to ensure proper nutrition and provide excellent quality care like professional home care specialists.