What is Dementia Care?August 12, 2022
What is Dementia Care?
According to John Hopkins Medicine, 5.8 million people in the United States live with some form of dementia– a group of conditions characterized by an impairment of at least two brain functions (for example, Alzheimer’s disease). As of 2018, that number was 220,000 in the state of Illinois. The condition is marked by a series of stages that indicate the person’s cognitive decline.
- First Stage: No dementia noticed
- Second Stage: Perceived age-related forgetfulness and memory loss
- Third Stage: Mild cognitive impairment. The family may recognize changes in thinking, memory, or comprehension
- Fourth Stage: Moderate cognitive decline/mild dementia. The person may show signs of poor short-term memory and have trouble with executive function
- Fifth Stage: Moderately severe cognitive decline/moderate dementia. Inability to recall information such as their phone number or friends’ and relatives’ names. May begin to struggle with some Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Sixth Stage: Severe cognitive decline/moderately severe dementia. May forget their spouse’s name, and may not remember recent events or life experiences. I will have more difficulty with ADLs as a result
- Seventh Stage: Very severe cognitive decline/severe dementia. May not be able to speak or walk independently. Can lose the ability to sit up or smile. When in this stage, they require constant care.
Can someone with dementia live at home?
When a loved one begins to exhibit signs of dementia, the family has to wonder what comes next. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes allow seniors to receive medical care immediately, however, it’s been shown that those who stay at home stay healthier and happier for longer. So, what is the best option for people with dementia?
Unfortunately, the answer comes down to each individual person. Before making a decision, take into account the overall health of the senior. However, in-home care ends up being a great decision for many. It allows them to receive personal care at a lower cost.
What is dementia care for seniors?
As those suffering from dementia progress through the condition, they slowly begin to lose the ability to care for themselves. It may start with theoretically innocuous problems—but when one forgets to take their medicine or struggle with personal care, it will snowball into much larger problems.
When there aren’t other medical issues coming into play, an in-home caregiver can provide seniors with the essential services they require to live at home.
Some activities of daily living seniors with dementia may require help with include:
- Personal care. Bathing, toileting, and dressing can become difficult for those suffering from dementia. A trained caregiver can assist with any grooming needs so their client feels comfortable and confident. They also provide dignified help with toileting, so seniors don’t have to worry about any unpleasant odors or infections.
- Medication reminders. Home caregivers can help seniors stay on track with their medication schedule by setting reminders and ensuring they don’t miss a refill. They can even assist with the pickup and drop-off of prescriptions.
- Errands. Driving is dangerous for those even within the early stages of dementia. Caregivers can take care of errands like grocery shopping, going to the post office, or even picking up a treat.
- Light housekeeping. A cluttered, messy home can lead to nasty slips. Caregivers help ensure walkways are cleared, that everything has a place, and that laundry is clean and put away. This prevents falls.
- Meal preparation. Planning healthy meals is a challenge for a person with dementia. Cooking those meals can be a safety hazard. Caregivers can prepare quality meals while seniors stay safe.
- Social interaction/companionship. According to the CDC, social isolation is associated with a 50% increase in dementia. Home care aides can stimulate seniors with dementia through engaging conversation and activities.
Making Life Easier for a Senior with Dementia
For those with dementia, it’s far easier to grow agitated and angry than it once was. An in-home caregiver will take the right steps to ensure their client’s frustrations are limited. They know to schedule certain tasks around their client’s mood, to take their time, and to reduce distractions that can make focusing difficult. They also know that flexibility is key to more difficult days.
Creating a safe environment for seniors with dementia is crucial. When caring for a senior, it’s important to verify that any tripping hazards are cleared, there are locks on potential safety hazards (chemicals, gasoline, and tools), and that fire safety precautions are in place.
Keep Seniors Happy at Home with Home Care Powered by AUAF
For more than 25 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has supported families in the Chicago area. Their compassionate care has brought seniors the comfort they require in their golden years, and their families the peace of mind they need. As a result, those with an elderly loved one who has dementia can rest easy knowing their family member is in good hands.
If you already act as an unpaid family caregiver, Home Care Powered by AUAF can help. Through IDoA’s program, we can train you with proper caregiving techniques that benefit both your loved one living with dementia and yourself. You’re paid for your work while your loved one receives quality care.
To learn more about our services, call us at 773-274-9262.
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