Caring for Loved Ones with Dementia and Cognitive Decline: 7 Essential Tips for Family Members
Columbia University researchers have found almost 10% of U.S. adults ages 65 and older have dementia, while another 22% have mild cognitive impairment. These rates go up after age 85 to nearly 35%.
The economic impact of dementia, including unpaid family care giving, is estimated to be $257 billion per year in the United States and $800 billion worldwide.
Dealing with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any form of cognitive decline can be challenging for both the affected individual and their family members. However, with proper understanding, support, and care, it is possible to enhance the quality of life for your loved ones.
Here are seven essential tips for family members to help support their family members with dementia and cognitive decline.
One of the most crucial steps in providing effective care is to educate yourself about the condition. Understand the symptoms, progression, and available treatments for dementia and cognitive decline. This knowledge will help you manage the situation better, anticipate challenges, and adapt your approach to care giving.
Establish a Routine
Maintaining a consistent routine can provide a sense of stability and security for individuals with cognitive decline. Establish a daily schedule for activities such as meals, medication, exercise, and leisure time. Consistency can help reduce anxiety and confusion, improving their overall well-being.
As cognitive decline progresses, communication becomes more challenging. Simplify your language, use clear and concise sentences, and speak slowly. Maintain eye contact and avoid distractions during conversations. Non-verbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, and touch can also help convey your message effectively.
Create a Safe Home Environment
Ensure the living space is safe and secure. Remove tripping hazards, install handrails, and use non-slip mats. Label drawers and cupboards to aid in finding items. Lock away potentially dangerous substances. Consider installing safety features such as alarms or cameras to monitor their well-being.
Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind and body is beneficial for individuals with dementia. Encourage participation in hobbies, puzzles, gentle exercises, and social interactions. Tailor activities to their interests and abilities, promoting a sense of accomplishment and maintaining cognitive function.
In-Home Care: Seek Support
Caring for a family member with dementia can be emotionally and physically demanding. Don’t hesitate to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, or counseling services. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can provide valuable advice, reassurance, and emotional support.
In-Home Care services like ours at Alliance Senior Care can provide healthcare, assistance with transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments, light housekeeping and assistance with meals and nutrition. We provide a FREE assessment and can tailor services to your specific circumstances.
Remember to prioritize your own well-being. Caregiving can be exhausting, and it’s important to take breaks, practice self-care, and seek respite when needed. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, engage in activities that bring you joy, and lean on your support network for assistance. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to care for your loved one.
Caring for family members with dementia and cognitive decline requires patience, understanding, and adaptability. By following these essential tips, you can provide the support and care necessary to enhance their quality of life. Remember, small gestures of love, compassion, and patience can make a significant difference in their well-being.
To get started with In-Home Care can help improve your loved ones’ quality of life, call Alliance Senior Care at 248-274-2170. It’s not just In-Home Care, it is Integrated Care.
Home Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care Home Care services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.