Get e-book When a Loved One at Home Has Dementia: A Family Members Guide to Caring for A Loved One

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He was energized and I was physically exhausted," says Robert Matsuda, a Los Angeles musician who worked full-time and cared for his father with Alzheimer's Disease for three years before recently placing him in a nursing home. As a patient moves from mild to moderate dementia, some home modifications that may include removal of throw rugs, installation of locks and safety latches, and the addition of a commode in the bedroom often need to be made.

This is also the time when the palliative care team should be brought in to support the caregiver and help manage behaviors. In severe dementia , there may be extensive memory loss , limited or no mobility, difficulty swallowing, and bowel and bladder control issues.


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There may be a need for around-the-clock care. At this stage, the patient may have difficulty recognizing family members and caregivers. Caregivers experiencing high stress levels during the moderate and severe stages may also be dealing with anticipatory grief associated with a feeling of impending loss of their loved one.

Living With: A Family Member with Dementia - coawaticgeratb.cf

Talking with the palliative care team's social worker can help caregivers understand these feelings and develop strategies for dealing with them. Experts warn that caregivers who do not get such help may be more likely to experience a prolonged, complicated period of grief after their loved one dies. There are many resources available to caregivers of a person diagnosed with dementia. The Alzheimer's Association will refer you to your local chapter for information, resources, and their hands-on caregiver training workshops.

Every time, when I leave, I've learned something -- techniques, strategies, things like that -- and that I'm not alone in this," says George Robby who is caring for his wife with Alzheimer's in their Chagrin Falls, Ohio, home. Other good sources of information, assistance, and support include your local Area Agency on Aging and, for those caring for veterans, the Veterans Administration's Caregiver Support Program Some senior care companies, including Silverado Senior Living and Home Instead Senior Care, offer programs and skill-building workshops at their facilities.

Palliative Care Reference. The Three Stages of Dementia After dementia is diagnosed, it usually follows a three-stage, downward trajectory. Keep in mind that emotional support will also be important for the loved one living with the disease, as well as for the family caregivers.


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  • After you and your immediate family have time to adjust to this diagnosis, you may want to begin telling family and friends the news. It can be difficult to do. Both offer support with personal care and day-to-day tasks, such as dressing, bathing, and medication monitoring. As you begin to make decisions about treatment, medications, and living arrangements, you will need a support team.

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    It could include family members, trusted friends, physicians, clergy, and even nearby neighbors. As the disease progresses, your care network might need to expand to include nurses, home care aides, social workers and other specialists. Despite understanding that it is an inevitable part of this debilitating illness, the reality is hard to accept.

    Their senior loved one may remember the child and call them by name one day, then be unable to recognize them the next. These materials can be useful when family and friends are learning about the disease and how it typically progresses. Have an open and honest discussion about the disease. It might also help to encourage friends and family to share their fears and feelings, and maybe even join an online caregiver support group.

    5 Steps for Planning for the Future for a Loved One With Dementia

    Understand that some people you thought you could count on may not be able to handle this difficult disease. First, we recommend you explain to children in the family that their senior loved one has an illness that makes it hard for them to remember things. Be sure to emphasize that neither the senior nor the child has done anything wrong. These changes are caused by the illness. Closely related to the topic of discussing the diagnosis with friends and loved ones is working together to create a plan for the future.

    Caregiver Training: Home Safety - UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program

    Three issues are typically an important part of this process: a power of attorney, advanced directives and permission to pay bills and manage finances. In order to ensure that your Power of Attorney documents are legally binding, your loved one must be of sound mind before signing the papers. Living wills typically detail very specific end-of-life preferences. Family members often need to step in and help their senior loved one pay bills and monitor their finances. If any of their routine bills can be paid online, automatic bill pay can save time.

    Creating a loving, positive atmosphere is key to helping those with memory loss feel safe and secure. Aromatherapy The power of the senses, especially smell, can help lift and calm the spirit. It is often used in cancer treatment centers, child care centers and in hospice programs.

    Knowing which scents to use is important. For example, lavender is known to help calm anxiety and promote better sleep. Both rosemary and lemon can help boost mood. It leads to a shift in circadian rhythms causing days and nights to be confused.

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    Consider installing dimmer switches in the rooms your loved one spends the most time in. Gradually dim the lights as day turns in to night. Make sure the room where your senior family member sleeps is free from any lighting sources, such as a digital alarm clock, that might hamper sleep. It causes them to shuffle their feet when they walk. This puts them at greater risk for a trip and fall accident.

    So be sure to keep pathways clear and remove any fall hazards, such as throw rugs or torn carpeting. Wandering is another common concern. In a safe and structured environment, seniors with dementia may be able to continue doing many of the things they enjoy despite their illness. Here are a few suggestions to keep your loved one active and engaged:. Exercise Staying physically active is good for people who have dementia.

    Exercise not only promotes better health, it also reduces stress and helps the senior sleep better. Taking a daily walk, practicing Chair Yoga and even dancing along to favorite old music are all good activities to engage in. Music therapy The healing harmony of music is well documented. Many times a senior who has lost their ability to speak is still able to sing songs from their youth. Music helps reduce stress and boost the spirit. Arts and Crafts Creative projects are known to provide therapeutic benefits.

    They can also be great intergenerational activities for seniors to do with their grandchildren. Try to stick with those from whatever time frame your senior seems to recognize most. Pull out a few family recipes for baked goods known to have the best aromas, such as chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie, or banana bread. Baking can also be a great intergenerational activity. Not only does the act of mixing help relieve stress and anxiety, it can bring back memories of happy times.

    Counting and Sorting The repetitive nature of sorting and counting can help reduce agitation. It can be as simple as sorting playing cards or counting poker chips. Just be careful not to use anything that might present a choking hazard. Gardening Another activity people with dementia often enjoy is gardening. It can stimulate and engage all of the senses.

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    Caring for a Person With Dementia

    In those cases, container gardening indoors can be a solution. Your loved one might like to create an herb garden or a fairy garden. We know it can be tough for adult children to accept that a parent needs more care than they can provide. Whether it is the support of an in-home caregiver, enrolling in an adult day program or moving to a senior living community, it is important to take time to explore your options. We also understand that with so many choices, trying to figure out which type of senior care is best and how to make an informed choice can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

    An experienced care advisor, like the team members at Senior Living Specialists, can help older adults and their families explore senior care options. They will answer questions about each type of care and help you decide which one may be the best solution for your loved one. Selecting a Senior Care Advisor to work with your family often comes down to knowing what questions to ask.

    Here are a few suggestions you can use to make an informed choice:. Not only will an experienced Senior Care Advisor help you find a care solution, he or she will also help educate you on the different types of care that are available. This overview will help you learn more about the different types of care that may be beneficial for a senior with some form of dementia:. In-Home Care Non-medical home care services allow seniors to maintain their independence at home longer. They can also offer support with personal care needs such as grooming, bathing and dressing.

    These often serve clients who are not safe alone at home. While programs and services vary, most adult day centers offer meals, programs and activities, a place for clients to rest, and very basic health care support. Many programs will also offer transportation services to and from the center. This is typically found within an assisted living community. Caregivers receive additional training to aide them in understanding how to support the unique needs of someone living with memory loss. These communities offer life enrichment programs designed to work around the common physical and cognitive impairments the disease creates.

    Support for you as a carer

    It may be the safest solution, and the one that allows them to live their best quality of life. There are a variety of factors that should be taken in to consideration when choosing a Memory Care program for a loved one:.