How to Care for Dementia Patients at Home – Caregiver’s Guide

Alzheimers and dementia care Tips

Caregiving for Dementia Patients at Home

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Caring for someone with Dementia disease is a unique challenge that many people will face as their parents and loved ones get older. Dementia is a type of Alzheimer’s that affects the way a person thinks and acts, and can therefore completely change the life of an elderly loved one and everyone around them. 

A diagnosis of Dementia disease disrupts both the life of the person living with it and that of their family members and loved ones. 

Tips for Caregivers & the Families of  Patient With Dementia

Caring for someone living with this disease is no easy task and can be very stressful for the caregiver.

Here are some essential Dementia caregiver tips that will help you and your loved one cope with the challenges associated with Dementia disease:

  • Learn about the disease. Read books, attend workshops, and consult with health professionals.
  • Learn caregiving techniques. Communication skills, safety concerns, and handling challenging behaviors and activities of daily living are key.
  • Understand the experience of your loved one. Adapt your expectations. Be patient and kind.
  • Don’t burn yourself out. Make time for yourself. Join support groups. Engage in activities outside of your caregiving roles, such as exercise, hobbies, and art.
  • Preserve your own physical and mental health. Exercises, breaks, and other activities can reduce stress. Get medical help if you are feeling down.
  • Discuss the situation with your family and friends. Support mechanisms are essential.
  • Do cognitive stimulation activities with your loved one. You can easily listen to music at home and play games such as crosswords and memory games.
  • Promote communication with doctors. Participate in the medical care of your loved one. Ask questions about the progression of the disease, voice your concerns, and discuss treatment options.
  • Take care of the planning for financial and legal matters, and long-term care. Try to involve your loved ones in decisions if they can still do so. 
  • Kindness, humor, and creativity are essential in providing care. Hugs, a hand massage, and another light physical contact will help your loved one feel connected and loved.
  • Adopt a positive attitude. Focus on the strengths your loved one still has and enjoy the relationship you have with them while you still can.

The Biggest Alzheimer’s Caregiver Challenges

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The more the disease progresses, the more difficult it becomes to apply the mindfulness method for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia disease.

The caregiver of a person with Dementia disease could be strained financially, emotionally, and even legally. It is a terrible experience for a person not to be recognized by a loved one after so many years by their side. Remember that this has absolutely nothing to do with you; it is only the nature of the disease. 

Caregivers need to develop a special talent for assessing situations when it comes to people with dementia. They need to be able to exercise good judgment and notice even the most subtle changes in the behavior, symptoms, or environment of the person affected. It also means that caregivers must have the capacity to adapt and change as needed.

Tips to Take Care of a Patient With Dementia at Home

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The best advice we can give you when it comes to caring for someone with dementia is to have patience. Make sentences short; the more information they contain, the more confused your loved one is and the more difficult it is for them to understand what you are saying. When planning their day, try, if possible, to avoid altering their routine. 

Try to maintain their physical appearance as they were before their health began to decline in order to give a certain sense of normalcy. You’ll also need to stay practical and prioritize based on your health since simpler activities like brushing your teeth or showering can become a challenge.

One thing is certain, the lingering effects of the disease on caregivers will be very difficult to manage, especially when the affected person is a family member. However, if you follow this advice and that of the doctors, you and your family will experience it with less difficulty.

7% of adults aged 60 and older suffer from dementia. Dementia is a decline in memory and other mental abilities

Effects of Dementia Disease on Patients and Their Family

Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60–70% of cases.

When it does occur, this neurodegenerative disease doesn’t just gradually wipe out recent memories, familiar faces, and sense of direction – it turns family life upside down as a whole. Thus, millions of people are really concerned: the sick with their family caregivers on the front line.

All these spouses or children who see their loved ones gradually decline and change their behavior without understanding. Soon, they will have to redouble their vigilance in order to guarantee the safety of this mother or father who no longer recognizes them and who sometimes tries to run away. 

Later, they will have to make sure to feed them, dress them, wash them, and care for them like their own child. Alzheimer reverses the roles and disrupts the caregiver couple even in their deepest intimacy.

The loss of autonomy is variable from one individual to another. It is generally spread over ten years. However, the sooner the disease occurs, the faster the decline will be. If memory loss, language disorders, comprehension and behavior are the daily aspects of Dementia patients and their families, there is nothing alarming about it. Vigilance is essential but home care is quite possible. 

Tips for Coping and Care a Person With Dementia

Manage daily life alongside a Dementia patient – 

  • Doing things for him or her should be avoided at all costs, especially if your loved one is in the mild stage of the illness. Help him by guiding him, but leaving him as much autonomy as possible. Also, it is better to stick to things that are simple and easy to do. For example, if your loved one is still able to dress but has trouble choosing clothes, suggest depending on the weather to put on this gray polo shirt with his pants, but let him or her.
  • Avoid upsetting him all the time. This obviously requires a lot of patience… Keep in mind that he does not do it on purpose. Your behavior would make matters worse and further destabilize him. An attitude that is easier to dictate than to do but essential for your common serenity.
  • Concentrate on the essentials, its safety. It is very important, to avoid the risk of falling due to the problem of disorientation, that the patient can move in a secure environment. Removing carpets, unstable furniture and electrical wires will make it easier for him to stay independent. Do not leave the doors open either and accompany him on his travels.
  • Keep benchmarks, don’t change his habits,  these are important pillars that reassure him when things get so confusing for him.
  • Avoid stress or new situations that destabilize him. When you receive a visit, family or friends, make it clear to them, and take the time to place each person in their context: “this is Madame X met on such and such an occasion, at such a place, at such a time”. Repeat the first names to him, but again, don’t get angry if he doesn’t remember them. When the patient is still aware of his troubles, this makes him anxious or even aggressive. On the contrary, it is better to try to reassure him.
  • For better communication, speak slowly to him, and formulate your requests in a clear manner that is easy to understand and assimilate. If he says incoherently, let him say it, after all, that’s okay…
  • Help him to eat when he is no longer able to do so.  At the critical stage of the disease, this is essential because the risks of undernutrition are great. Opt for small amounts, chopped or mixed, of a dish he once enjoyed.
  • Meet their emotional needs and spare their feelings, because it is important to know that even if judgment and reason are impaired, emotions remain strong, even at a very advanced stage of the disease. Your spouse or parent continues to experience joy, anger, fear, love or sadness and reacts to all of these feelings without you really noticing.
  • Do not hesitate to get help and replace a few hours of time to take a breather, take a step back, seek comfort from other helpers within associations. Talk to a psychologist. These consultations will allow you to approach the situation in a more confident manner.
  • What if it was me in his place?  When, at your wit’s end, you want to give up everything, ask yourself this question again. Such thinking usually leads to more indulgence…
  • Also, to continue to preserve her privacy, keep loving gestures, a relationship based on affection is not only possible, but quite beneficial. Often, upset by the announcement of the diagnosis, the couple can go through difficult periods of estrangement, fear and lack of desire. 
  • While affectionate exchanges would be beneficial for those affected by the disease, as for their spouse, because they constitute a factor of balance. Later, when the disease progresses and the link through language is no longer possible, intimate relationships, signs of affection, smiles, sweet words and caresses, sometimes remain the strongest means of communication.

How Do You Stop a Dementia Patient From Wandering?

It is imperative to call the emergency services in Los Angeles, very quickly by dialing 112 and describing clothes.

Have a recent photo to clearly identify the patient.

Search in a radius of immediate proximity, most of the patients being found between 500 to 2000 meters from the place of the disappearance when the search is quickly started.

When reuniting after a runaway, do not get angry but reassure the patient and show him all your affection.

How Much Does in Home Dementia Care Cost?

The hospital stay is usually stressful and exhausting, physically and emotionally for the patient and the family. In addition, the cost of hospitalization for the health system is very high, not to mention that these harmful consequences multiply when it comes to prolonged hospital stays.

Faced with this dire scenario, a specific question arises: What is the best model of care for the Dementia patient?

As a premise, a balance must be established between clinical and functional results, quality of life, rehabilitation, with reasonable costs for the system. It is then in-home care where the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary health team with up-to-date technical resources is most evident.

What are the limits of home support for a Dementia patient?

Sometimes the emotional load is so heavy that the caregiver can no longer cope. When, at a critical stage, the Dementia patient requires care and assistance at all times, entering an institution is the best solution for his well-being and safety. 

Justin Villa Care receives many requests in this direction. Each time, our gerontology advisers strive to find, including in emergencies, quality establishments capable of medically and socially taking care of these Dementia patients.

Justin Villa Care offers the best care for dementia patients

Justin Villa Care offers the best care for dementia patients

A person with Dementia disease can still lead interesting and fulfilling lives when their caregivers and loved ones have the necessary skills and have appropriate expectations. When caring for someone with Dementia disease, you should remember to take care of yourself. Ask for help when you are feeling exhausted. 

Justin Villa Care can provide respite care so you can take time off from your caregiving responsibilities. By using the home caregiver services for seniors we offer today, to many people with Dementia disease, you can be sure that they are receiving the support and care they need. 

Our special care for dementia patients includes:

Personal Care Assistance

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Incontinence
  • Transferring
  • Feed & Prepare Meals

Household Assistance

  • Medication Reminders
  • Local Transportation To Appointments
  • Light Housekeeping And Laundry

Special Care Assistance

  • Memory Impairment
  • Hospice Care
  • Support Parkinson’s Mobility Care

To learn more about our services in Orange and Los Angeles County, visit Justin Villa Care.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brenda

Brenda

Brenda Villanueva, R.N. is the owner and supervisor of Justin Villa Care, LLC; a licensed in-home care agency that serves seniors in Los Angeles and Orange county. Since 2006, she has helped seniors stay at home through caregiver services, such as, bathing, dressing, meal preparation, transferring, incontinence care, and Alzheimer’s care.

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Justin Villa Care Implements Safety Measures to Protect Clients From COVID-19

Justin Villa Care is dedicated to implementing proactive measures during this difficult time to support our caregivers, clients and families. Here are some of the measures we are implementing to help your loved ones to stay home and stay safe.

Caregiver and Staff Education

Our caregivers and staff have received communication and training in:

  • Symptoms
  • Safety protocols
  • Travel reporting requirements
  • Proper handwashing techniques
  • Respiratory etiquette
  • Warning signs of illness
  • Infection control protocols, including effective cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and hands Following CDC and local health authority guidance

Caregiver and Staff Monitoring

We will not place any caregiver with a client for a minimum of 14 days or until cleared by a medical provider if the caregiver has:

  • Been exposed to a facility where COVID- 19 is being treated
  • Traveled to a location on the CDC advisory list in the past two months
  • Started showing symptoms of the illness
  • We will not place any caregiver who has symptoms of illness on assignment or accept new clients who demonstrate symptoms that are highly consistent with the COVID-19 diagnosis or who have traveled to Level 1-3 areas in the most recent 14 days.

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