According to an article featured in Johns Hopkins Medicine Journal, there are 5.8 million people in the United States who have some form of dementia, and there are many of these individuals who are able to remain at home. This treatment choice has actually been shown to help these individuals stay healthier, happier, and even live longer. The problem, inevitably, is that this caregiving is often the responsibility of family members, friends, and neighbors. Taking on this burden on your own may end in burnout and resentment, which is where dementia care comes in.
What is Dementia and How Does it Affect Your Loved One?
Unfortunately, dementia impacts every aspect of an individual’s life, it is a neurological disorder with many categories for a significant collection of symptoms that are a result of many different diseases. Regardless of which specific diagnosis your loved one has; it will involve significant shifts in the thinking process that end up interfering with daily activities and life in general.
If your loved one has dementia, they may not only experience changes in their memory, or executive functions, they may also suffer from a physical decline. According to the Johns Hopkins article mentioned above, more than 90% of patients with dementia had needs that were safety related, therefore, it stands to reason that one of the first things you may want to do when your loved one is diagnosed is make a list of safety retrofits for your loved one’s home that will prevent falls. This includes grab bars, tacked down carpets, locked up gun closets, and any ledges or corners that may increase the amount of time they can spend at home.
With Alzheimer’s in particular, a familiar place is helpful, so ensuring that your loved one is safe in their own home will become your first priority.
What Can I do to Care for My Loved One at Home?
Permanent home care isn’t always possible depending on how the progression of the specific type of dementia occurs. One thing that experts do agree on is that the earlier that care is provided, the longer it is usually effective. The thing that you can do for your loved one at home is to ensure that there is a plan in place that includes power of attorney and executing any documents or transfers of property before your loved one loses their ability to communicate their wishes.
Next, sit down and plan your next steps with your loved one. If your parent or loved one is determined to stay in their home for as long as possible, approach the ideas behind assisted living, nursing care, and caregiving. Make sure that you define what each means, and know when your loved one wants to be placed in those types of accommodations.
What is Dementia Care and How Does it Help Your Loved One?
Dementia care allows you, as the primary caregiver, to seek the help of professionals to create a unique and individualized plan that focuses on building up abilities instead of decline. A caregiver that is focused on dementia care goes out of their way to focus on providing your loved one with a full life that keeps them active and involved for as long as possible. The plan that you create with your dementia caregiver will adapt and change as your loved one’s condition continues to progress.
A dementia caregiver specializes in recognizing and dealing with the effects of dementia, however, many of the services that they provide are similar to any other caregiver. The dementia caregiver goes out of their way to create a bond with their client, to keep them active and socialized, tied to their friends, family, and connected to events that they would normally participate in.
Your dementia care provider will go out of their way to keep your loved one involved in their community and family for as long as possible, as well as help them develop the tools that they need to continue to function on their own for as long as possible. Additionally, they will be able to help with light housekeeping, meal prep and more. Most importantly, a dementia care provider will be an extra set of hands that you can rely on as little or as much as you need. We provide the following services:
- Safety inside your home and around it
- Promoting independence by modifying the steps that are necessary for an activity
- Allowing time for your loved one to participate in their own care
- Engagement at the right time, and in the right amount
- Arranging and organizing closets and drawers in order to promote independence
- Looking for reactions to the environment that may signify disease progression, such as temperature or noise
- Knowing and arranging for times of quiet and rest
- Staying engaged in physical activity to promote physical well-being, circulation, and muscle strength
Don’t forget that Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling is here for you. It is always a privilege to provide our clients with compassionate and professional assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have more questions or keep browsing our website for more information.