Dementia affects everyone differently. In its early stages, your loved one may still be able to live independently without too much trouble. However, as the disease progresses, you could find that they need more help and monitoring. Below are just a few tips for giving those with dementia the help that they need.
Assess their day-to-day risks
As dementia gets worse, everyday tasks can suddenly become hazardous. Memory loss may cause your loved one to forget the rules of the road while driving, to leave food in the oven or to overdose on prescription pills. You should assess these risks and intervene when necessary. It may be a case that they need to give up driving, cooking or managing their own pills. Alternatively, you may be able to use technology or other reminders to help them maintain some independence. For instance, when it comes to medication management, you could consider getting them a pill dispenser. When it comes to preparing meals, you could create a meal diary for them that allows them to keep track of when they have eaten and what they have eaten.
Help take care of daily tasks
Those with dementia may struggle with basic tasks such as shopping, cleaning and paying bills. Know when to step in and take care of these tasks. If you find that you’re having to practically run their household while running your own household at the same time, consider whether it might be better for them to move in with you. You don’t want to be stressing yourself out looking after two properties.
Visit a memory café together
If you’d like to get support but find going to the doctor’s is too stressful, you could consider trying a memory café. These are support centres set up for people with dementia to visit – their calm and relaxed environment will put your loved one at ease and you’ll be able to get the advice that you need.
Look into available financial benefits
As a carer, you may be eligible for certain benefits. Your loved one will also be classed as disabled, and may also be eligible for certain benefits. Look into these so that you’re getting all the financial support that is owed to you. Having this financial support could make looking after your loved one much less of a struggle.
Know when professional care assistance is needed
Taking on the role of full-time carer for your loved one can be a physical and emotional struggle. You may have to sacrifice responsibilities such as work and even socialising to be there for your loved one. You may even find that your loved one becomes aggressive or uncooperative. If it gets to a stage in which you are struggling to cope, make sure to look into professional help. Even having someone to come in a couple hours a week could offer some respite. Alternatively, you may feel that full time in-house care or a care home is the best option.