When your loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia, you may feel both relief and anxiety. Their care needs will change as the condition progresses, and being solely responsible for this is understandably overwhelming. If you are looking after a parent or loved one with this disease, there are five big things you can do to make the days ahead more comfortable for everyone involved.
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Get to Know What Dementia Means
Dementia affects everyone in a very similar way. While the main impacts may be more rapid for some patients, others are affected over a longer period. It will cause deterioration of memory, mobility, and independence. These three things are a big task for any carer, and you must get to know what that will look like as things progress. By the later stages, the demand will be high and your loved one will inevitably need 24-hour monitoring. Accepting this reality will give you a solid foundation for planning the future.
Stick with a Routine
A routine helps significantly for dementia sufferers. This is because it gives them a sense of familiarity and comfort. It will definitely help if they are being moved from their home into yours, for instance, because this will be a major shift for them and is likely to cause a few hard moments or confusion episodes. Create a solid routine that they can rely on and try your best to stick with it. This may mean moving a few responsibilities around, and it is up to you to figure out how that looks in the grand scheme of things.
Be Proactive with Appointments
There are lots of things that can exacerbate dementia symptoms from unmanaged high cholesterol to a poor diet. Given that dementia can cause a range of complex medical symptoms such as dysphagia and decreased mobility, it is important to stay on top of anything new that comes along and seek medical advice when it does. This will help you to manage the nuances more effectively and ensure that anything that can be done to help, is being done.
Don’t Feel Guilt Over Needing a Break
Caring for someone is one of the most demanding things a person can do. There are so many moving parts to navigate that it is bound to take its toll. If you don’t take a break, you risk burning out and then you won’t be able to look after anyone at all. Booking some respite care with an expert facility like this care home in Mansfield can provide means you get some breathing space from a very intense situation, and everyone will be able to carry on in a better frame of mind.
Above all, you must embrace patience. There will be frustrating moments, and it is easy to forget that this person that you love so much is not intentionally pushing your buttons. The confusion episodes will feel distressing, and you have to feel your way through them so that everyone is kept safe. Getting angry will make things worse.
Dementia is a degenerative condition that affects many things in both the physical and mental self. Caring responsibilities are huge, and anyone stepping into this role must appreciate that.