A progressive brain disease, dementia causes symptoms that affect a senior’s ability to function independently in daily life. Due to the nature of dementia, extra care is often needed to support the senior, especially if the individual ages in place. The duties of a dementia caregiver are many.
What is dementia?
While occasional forgetfulness is considered a normal part of aging, severe memory loss is not. Dementia may be defined as the loss of several cognitive functions, such as memory, problem-solving, thinking and language, that are necessary to execute tasks in daily life.
Dementia is not a disease in itself. Rather, the term covers a wide range of medical ailments, including Alzheimer’s disease, that are caused by abnormal changes in the brain. As dementia causes a decline in thinking skills, the patient’s ability to independently function in daily life becomes severely impaired.
Are dementia symptoms reversible?
A cure does not currently exist for certain dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease. However, some medical conditions, like thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, depression and medication interactions, can cause reversible dementias. When treated early, seniors’ thinking and memory problems may be improved.
What causes dementia?
Dementia is the result of damage to brain cells. Due to the damage, brain cells are unable to communicate normally with each other, which in turn affects behavior and feelings. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus region of the brain is the first to undergo damage, resulting in memory loss.
Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning the symptoms will worsen over time. A senior showing early signs of dementia will need minimal care. As the senior’s condition gradually deteriorates, the level of care required will markedly increase. Enlisting a skilled dementia caregiver early on is beneficial.
While family members may choose to care for an elderly dementia patient on their own, the responsibility can be extremely stressful, even more so than caring for someone with a physical impairment. Families are encouraged to seek support from a qualified dementia caregiver.
What does a dementia caregiver do?
A dementia caregiver is a skilled professional trained to recognize the symptoms of dementia. This professional understands, for example, that angry outbursts and agitation are expected outcomes of a dementia condition. A dementia caregiver understands how to gently calm the senior.
A dementia caregiver provides ongoing, quality care for a senior suffering from dementia. General responsibilities include discreet assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and incontinence. Dementia caregivers also provide various types of additional in-home support.
Currently, dementia cannot be diagnosed with a medical test. Instead, a doctor will diagnose the condition by evaluating medical history, a physical exam, laboratory tests and any noticeable changes in daily behavior or thinking. Dementia may be accurately diagnosed by medical professionals.
When families begin to notice changes in an elderly loved one’s thinking and behavior, the senior is advised to see a doctor for evaluation. A dementia caregiver can provide the transportation to the doctor’s office, as well as provide continued transportation for follow up visits.
2. Medication Reminders
A physician may prescribe medications that temporarily improve dementia symptoms. Alzheimer’s drugs are sometimes used to treat dementia symptoms. Non-drug therapies are also helpful in alleviating some dementia symptoms. Existing treatments, though, are unable to stop the progression of dementia.
Seniors who are prescribed medications should be careful to take the right doses at the right time. Medication noncompliance (due to memory problems) can lead to illness or even death. Dementia caregivers are essential to reminding care recipients to take the right pills and on schedule.
Dementia patients thrive with daily routines. Patterns in everyday life help seniors know what to expect and to continue achieving some things on their own. As a result, dementia patients who are guided by daily routines are more likely to feel confidence and dignity.
Dementia caregivers promote routines in everyday living. The professionals establish set times for meals, bathing and grooming. A senior who is used to bathing in the morning can continue to do so under a dementia caregiver’s care. Bathroom trips may also be consistent to avoid accidents.
4. Wandering Prevention
Any senior who suffers from memory problems and is mobile is at risk for wandering. Disorientation and confusion are common symptoms even in the early stages of dementia. Wandering can be extremely dangerous, as seniors may become lost or hurt.
Dementia caregivers help prevent a senior from wandering. Structured days can lower the chances of wandering. If wandering is likely to occur at specific times, the caregiver will plan activities to reduce restlessness. Dementia caregivers offer reassuring words when the senior needs to “go home”.
Care recipient safety is a high priority for dementia caregivers. A senior may turn on the stove and forget to turn it off. A watchful caregiver will prevent a kitchen fire. Dementia caregivers provide continued supervision at home, while being careful to never leave the senior alone in a vehicle.
Your loved one will remain safe and well-cared for under the supervision of dementia caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care. While our dementia care services are non-medical in nature, they are comprehensive, and meet the daily care needs of countless seniors living with dementia.
Our companionship services prevent seniors from experiencing the isolation and loneliness that often accompany dementia. We also engage the senior in mentally stimulating games and conversations to help exercise memory functions. Dementia caregivers build fulfilling, personal relationships with care recipients.
Assisting Hands Home Care dementia caregivers also prepare nutritious meals so that your loved one stays nourished. Help with personal care is a core responsibility of our memory caregivers. We also provide timely medication reminders and respond gently to instances of wandering.
Families with seniors who are struggling with dementia benefit from quality home care from Assisting Hands Home Care. We’ll develop a customized care plan to meet the unique needs of your elderly loved one. Call us at (630) 413-9899 if your have senior loved one living in the areas surrounding Hinsdale, Downers Grove or La Grange, IL.