According to Dr Richard Nahas, you may be overwhelmed if you’re someone who needs to take care of a person with dementia in your home. People who live with dementia need the assistance of their family members along with additional care providers. Let’s check out how you can care for someone with dementia at home.
1. The environment –
First of all, you need to make sure that the person with dementia has a proper living environment. Their own home may not be familiar to them the next moment. The symptoms of dementia affect people’s cognitive ability to understand where they are and may even affect their perception of common fittings and household items.
That’s why you need to make the home more easily navigable, add signage wherever possible, reduce reflective surfaces that may affect perception and maximize natural lighting in the home along with the use of blinds to minimize outside light into the home at night.
2. Hydration and nutrition –
A person’s appetite may change suddenly when they have dementia. They may even forget to drink enough water and that’s why you need to put up some practices in place to ensure proper hydration and nutrition for your loved one. You may engage the affected family member to participate in beverage and dinner preparation.
Think about his or her connection with food throughout their life and try to evoke memories by creating drinks and food they enjoyed during adolescence or other significant periods of their life. You may also leverage other senses by preparing coffee or baking fresh bread to evoke memories through fragrance and sound stimulation. If the person with dementia has a lack of appetite, try cooking food with stronger flavours or take them out for dinner.
3. Social engagement –
You also need to take care of yourself to take care of the person with dementia. If you feel isolated, you can join peer groups in your city or online support groups. The same can be done for the person with dementia. There are support groups like Dementia International Alliance and AFTD for people who are affected by dementia.
You can also search for learning opportunities if you’re a family carer. The knowledge and training can help you take better care of your loved one and be prepared for emergencies. For instance, if you live in the province of British Columbia, you can reach out to the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia for training and other help. You can also get such training for free by enrolling at one of the free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) conducted by a University in the relevant field.
Dr Richard Nahas suggests that you use the above-mentioned tips to provide your family member with the proper care he or she needs. Living with dementia is not easy and sometimes it can be more mentally taxing on the family members. Don’t hesitate to get a professional care provider if you can afford it.