A dementia diagnosis isn’t easy for anyone. Though a cure does not exist, research continues to offer better treatments to slow the progression of the illness. As a caregiver, you play an essential role in helping a loved one manage the disease and live their best life. Each stage of dementia requires unique care. The more you know as a caregiver, the better you can assist your loved one. We'll discuss each stage in detail below.
At this stage in the illness, your loved one likely functions fairly independently, and continues to drive, work, and socialize. Although they may simply seem forgetful, dementia-related lapses in memory are quite distinct from regular age-related memory loss.
Caregiving in this stage should focus on emotional support. Helping your loved one cope with the diagnosis can help to reduce anxiety and frustration. Do your best to identify what tasks frustrate them and find ways to help them through it. If they are struggling to organize their schedule, offer to write out events in their day planner with them. Be sure to communicate though; you don’t want to assume they can’t complete a task, only to reduce their independence and increase frustration. It’s also essential to plan for the future to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are met later in life.
The symptoms of this stage become more pronounced as the individual becomes more confused. They begin to forget events in their own personal history, are increasingly moody or confused, and exhibit other unusual behavioral changes.
You can help by encouraging them to do as many daily tasks as they can, while confirming that you’ll be ready to help if they need you. Communication can become more difficult, as they may struggle to find the words needed to express themselves. With patience and understanding, try to speak slowly and distinctly with a gentle tone to help improve your communication efforts. Finally, if there is any concern whether or not your loved one is safe to live alone, it may be time to consider additional assistance.
Once the disease has progressed to this stage, an individual frequently loses many of their basic abilities, including responding to the environment, communicating, and controlling their movements. They frequently require 24 hour assistance for daily tasks and personal care, and usually benefit from living in a residential facility.
Although you may no longer be able to support your loved one physically, you can still make a big impact by offering emotional care and stimulation. Whether you can connect with them through playing their favorite music, looking at old photos together, or simply holding their hand, there are plenty of ways to care for your family member.
While each person may experience the symptoms differently, your support can greatly reduce their burden. Let us help you care for your senior, so that you can you spend more quality time with them instead. Call 507-396-8080 or contact us online for more details today.