Getting older can come with many challenges. However, if your senior loved one has dementia, he or she faces one of the greatest challenges of all. A dementia diagnosis comes with a stigma that can leave older adults feeling ashamed, useless, and as if the world has forgotten about them. If your loved one has dementia, even in its earliest stages, there are some things you can start doing today to empower him or her.
1. Don’t Assume They Are Completely Incapacitated
When families find out their loved one has dementia, they may begin to doubt his or her abilities. Allow your loved one to continue doing as much as possible independently, but try to monitor from a distance. There may come a point when your loved one can’t do many things without assistance, and this is when you can step in.
Make sure your loved one has the support he or she needs to perform daily tasks. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care in Rockwall, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors.
Another common assumption is that people with dementia don’t have much to say, or what they do say won’t make sense. Family members and caregivers tend to talk over them, ignore them, and write off the things they do hear. Just asking your loved one how he or she is doing, how his or her day went, and if there’s anything you can do for him or her can make a significant difference. Be patient and listen to your loved one’s responses without judgment, even if he or she has difficulty communicating them.
3. Find Ways to Delay Cognitive Decline
No one wants to live with the fear of what the future may hold. However, research has shown there are ways to slow the progression of dementia, such as changing the diet, getting physical exercise, taking vitamin supplements, or exercising the brain. Do your homework and share your findings with your loved one. He or she may want to give it a try, or he or she may be happy knowing you put in the effort.
4. Help Them Age in Place Safely
No one wants to spend their later years in an unfamiliar place. However, dementia may lead to moving to a place with around-the-clock care. Do what is necessary to keep your loved one living at home for as long as possible. This might mean bringing in other friends and family members to spend days or nights at his or her home. It may also mean hiring professional in-home care. You may need to make some changes to your loved one’s home to ensure safety.
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Rockwall, Texas, home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
5. Encourage Socialization
With a dementia diagnosis, it may be more challenging to maintain a social life. For older adults, isolation is far too often the norm and can lead to poor health. It’s important to continue your relationship with your loved one as if nothing has changed, and make sure he or she can maintain other relationships. This may mean driving your loved one to lunch dates with a friend or helping him or her get out of the house for other purposes. Encourage friends and family members to visit your loved one more frequently, or hold holiday gatherings, barbecues, and birthday parties at his or her house.
6. Promote a Sense of Purpose
Older adults who have retired from their jobs may feel as if they have nothing to contribute to society. The stigma of dementia may add to this feeling. While your loved one may not be able to go out and get a full-time job, there are still plenty of opportunities to maintain a sense of purpose. Help your loved one find a way to volunteer. Encourage him or her to advocate for other people with dementia and join in the battle. Your loved one can even do something from home, such as crocheting or knitting blankets for homeless people.
When seniors develop dementia, family caregivers are not always able to provide the mental stimulation they need to feel in control of their lives. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Rockwall, Texas, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To create a customized care plan to help your senior loved one age in comfort, call one of our professional Care Managers at (972) 722-7833.