According to the World Health Organization, nearly 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with another 10 million cases appearing every year. It’s a wide-reaching condition that impacts hundreds of millions.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be tough and emotionally draining. To help you out, here are some tips if one of your loved ones has dementia.
Make Communications as Simple as Possible
Questions or comments that may seem simple to you can quickly become overwhelming for someone with dementia. Dementia makes it harder to stitch information into coherent ideas, so even simple, open-ended questions can cause someone with dementia a great deal of anxiety.
Instead of open-ended questions, for example, you may want to stick with yes-or-no answers. This makes it so much easier for your loved one to give you an answer.
Encourage Them to Exercise
Numerous studies have shown that exercise has a massive list of benefits for everyone, including those with dementia. Exercise stimulates blood flow (some of which goes to the brain), which may help in slowing down dementia progression to a small degree.
Plus, exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good and boost our mood.
Of course, your loved one’s doctor should approve any exercise regimen before they begin it. With that said, you can start with tasks as simple as helping you with some light chores. You may be able to work up to 20-30 minute walks.
Dealing with dementia can be emotionally draining, but you must be realistic. Dementia is unfortunately irreversible, continues to progress over time, and is currently incurable. You have to accept these things in stride and do your best to provide your loved one with a comfortable and enjoyable life.
Speaking of, you will have both good and bad days while helping your loved one. It’s important to enjoy and foster the good days, but not try to force them if it’s a bad day.
Laugh a Little
Everyone feels good after a hearty session of laughing. It’s an excellent bonding activity and relieves stress.
However, some studies are showing that laughter can also benefit people dealing with memory loss, such as those with dementia. In particular, laughter can relieve some of the frequent stress someone with dementia may experience from being confused or uncertain of themselves.
So use humor whenever you can. But not at your loved one’s expense — even if in a loving manner — because remember: they may not be able to connect that you’re not truly making fun of them. Instead, find ways that you guys can laugh together, such as watching a funny TV show or telling jokes.
At Angels on Call, we have numerous compassionate caregivers with the experience necessary to help your loved one enjoy their life. Contact us today to learn more about our home health and home care services.