More than four million people in the United States are living with dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Caregivers such as family members, friends, and healthcare professionals need the necessary information to care for and support patients with dementia. It’s therefore very important that the correct information is relayed in order to provide positive and favorable outcomes for the patients and their caregivers.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Healthy lifestyle choices aid in promoting good overall health and may play a role in maintaining the patient’s memory. These include:
- Regular aerobic and cardiovascular exercise, which can also help improve one’s mood.
- A low-fat diet and increased intake of fruits and vegetables also help to protect cognitive health.
- Intellectual stimulation and social engagements are also beneficial in preserving mental function.
One should also try and make the environment for the patient as comfortable as possible and help them cope with the disease by:
- Being available to listen to their needs.
- Offering reassurance that life can still be enjoyed.
- Trying your best to help the person retain their dignity and self-respect.
- Avoid exposing the patient to large groups of people or stressful situations as this can elevate anxiety which may result in negative behavior.
- If negative behaviors occur, then one should try and address any triggers so that the patient can be relaxed and revert back to their normal behavior.
- Make sure that loose carpets and slippery surfaces are appropriately dealt with to avoid falls, and that sturdy rails are put into place to assist the patient.
Getting The Correct Support and Help
Dementia caregivers can include family members of the patient or healthcare professionals such as nurses and care workers/assistants. It’s important to set up a dementia care team who have the necessary experience and who will provide emotional and physical support for the family caregiver so that they don’t feel as if they’re alone.
The following points will help to focus on these aspects:
- Family caregivers should attempt to join support groups such as the Alzheimer’s Association or the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
- Family caregivers should also make use of the numerous professional resources available to receive guidance and critical advice, such as from occupational therapists trained in dementia care.
This is a challenging time which can result in increased stress and anxiety in the family caregiver. The following suggestions can help to reduce these stress levels:
- Seek the advice of healthcare professionals who are trained in providing emotional support, and ask questions of these staff members who are involved in the loved one’s care.
- Learn as much about the dementia condition affecting the patient. Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia are both conditions that cause cognitive changes, but they present in different ways. Alzheimer’s disease causes a progressive worsening of the patient’s memory where Lewy body dementia results in patchy memory recall that comes and goes. Also, Lewy body dementia results in movement changes early in the condition similar to those experienced in Parkinson’s disease, whereas Alzheimer’s may cause movement issues later on in the condition.
- Request the help of family members and friends when it’s needed.
- Try taking some time off every day.
- Spend time with family members and friends.
- Take care of your health by getting regular exercise and eating healthy meals.
- If at all possible, make use of an adult day center to help lighten your duties.
Accepting the Diagnosis and Cherishing the Memories
It’s difficult for family caregivers to find the value and meaning of their interactions and relationship with their family member with dementia. The reason may be that the focus is on what has lost rather than what they still have in the patient.
Therefore, these patients need to be regarded in a positive light and family members shouldn’t allow the disease to define the patient’s life. Family caregivers should learn to enjoy the precious moments that are left.