While forgetting the location of a set of keys or the name of an acquaintance doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is suffering from dementia, the condition is relatively common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 5 million Americans were living with dementia in 2014 and this number is expected to increase to 14 million by 2060.
Known as the most common age-related cognitive decline, dementia affects memory, thinking and emotions. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include confusion, lack of focus, mood instability and memory loss.
While there is no cure for dementia, there are certain things that you can do to slow down its progress. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help your loved one deal with dementia.
Provide a Safe Environment
People with dementia can be prone to injuring themselves. As such, it is crucial to ensure that their surrounding environment, whether during palliative care or a hospital setting, is as safe as possible. Try to remove any rugs, clutter or cords to prevent accidental falls. Installing grab bars in certain areas of the house, such as the bathroom, can also be a great idea. It’s also very important to keep potentially harmful substances such as medication, cleaning products and alcohol under lock and key.
Encourage Physical Activity
Exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s also great for mental well-being. According to numerous studies, regular physical activity can slow down mental decline and even reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, exercise increases the production of dopamine or the body’s feel-good chemical.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to have the desired effect. Why not engage your loved one in your daily routine or encourage them to participate in household chores or gardening — all these activities stimulate the senses. If necessary, break down the activities into individual steps to make them more manageable.
Get Your Loved One Involved in Adult Care Programs
Many care programs for adults with dementia are about much more than just physical care. They are set up to also stimulate mental activity through various programs and games. Run by professionals, adult care programs can also give your loved one an opportunity to connect with others outside their immediate circle.
Seek the Help of Professional Care-Givers
Helping a person suffering from dementia can be overwhelming. If you are finding it difficult to take care of your loved one, consider asking for help. From feeding to facilitating activities, professional caregivers are trained to help people with dementia make the most of their day-to-day life.