Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning symptoms worsen over time. As cognitive functions gradually deteriorate, the dementia patient will require memory care. A skilled dementia caregiver will provide support and promote a good quality of life for the senior living with dementia.
What is dementia?
A progressive brain disease, dementia triggers a decline in cognitive functions. A dementia patient will slowly start to lose the abilities to remember, reason and problem solve. Eventually, these abnormal changes in the brain will interfere with the senior’s ability to function independently in daily life.
Damaged brain cells cause dementia. These damaged brain cells are no longer able to effectively communicate, which leads to abnormal changes in thinking, feeling and behavior. The type of dementia experienced is largely determined by the specific areas of the brain in which cells become damaged.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common causes of dementia. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases may be attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia is the second leading cause of dementia. Mixed dementia occurs when the patient experiences brain changes from different types of dementia at once.
What are symptoms of dementia?
Dementia symptoms vary widely. Memory is affected, especially short-term memory. For example, a dementia patient may lose track of where he placed his wallet. A dementia patient will forget appointments and important events. Confusion about time and place will occur.
Additionally, a person living with dementia may no longer be able to carry out the tasks of daily living. Cooking will be left undone, because the senior has forgotten how to use the stove or prepare adequate meals. Or, the senior with dementia may forget to eat and lose weight.
Common responsibilities, like paying the bills, will be a major obstacle for the senior with dementia. When shopping, the elderly individual will become confused about the correct change. Or, when traveling to familiar places, the dementia patient may get lost.
What are dementia caregivers’ duties?
The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia will make daily activities a significant challenge for the dementia patient. As a result, the senior will require extra support at home. Dementia caregivers are trained to identify and compassionately manage the various symptoms of dementia.
One of the first steps a dementia caregiver will take is to assess the care recipient’s situation. The dementia caregiver will observe how the disease specifically affects the senior. Dementia advances in stages, and mild dementia requires a different level of care than severe dementia.
Once the dementia caregiver has determined the stage of dementia and observed the patient’s living conditions, a care plan may be developed. Typically, care plans are flexible and may be modified as the dementia advances and care needs become greater.
Assistance with ADLs
A dementia caregiver provides daily support. The senior who requires help with bathing, dressing and grooming will find dependable support via a dementia caregiver. The professional is responsible for preparing healthy meals, so that the care recipient is nourished and hydrated.
Mobility issues may plague the dementia patient, especially when motor skills or coordination are impacted as a result of the disease. When the senior requires help with walking through the home or getting into or out of bed, the dementia caregiver will lend physical support.
Assistance with Wandering
Various symptoms of dementia can manifest. Wandering, for instance, is dangerous. The dementia patient could get lost or unknowingly walk into perilous situations. A core responsibility of the dementia caregiver is to monitor the senior and gently lead him back to a place of safety.
Outbursts and agitation are common symptoms of dementia. When a care recipient becomes uncharacteristically aggressive, the dementia caregiver will identify the behavior as part of the disease. The caregiver uses her training to calm the senior and return him to a peaceful state.
Dementia patients thrive in routine. Since these seniors benefit from knowing what to expect each day, memory care providers establish a schedule for the care recipients to follow. Physical exercise may be included in the morning schedule, for example, and social events in the afternoon.
Many dementia patients remain active in the community, especially when the disease is still in its early stages. Dementia caregivers are responsible for providing the senior with transportation, whether it is to a community event, a doctor’s appointment or to conduct an errand.
Isolation and depression can set in when dementia patients are no longer able to interact with their immediate surroundings as they once did. Dementia caregivers are aware of patients’ social limitations and carry out their responsibilities of providing emotional support and companionship.
Dementia caregivers are essential to a senior’s well-being in daily life. These professionals are trained to handle dementia symptoms compassionately and skillfully. Dementia caregivers are especially important when family members lack the patience, experience and understanding to handle unfamiliar situations.
Planning for dementia care becomes important once a dementia diagnosis is made. When your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, consider choosing Assisting Hands Home Care for the most skilled dementia care. We support seniors at any stage of dementia.
Our memory care providers handle a number of nonmedical, yet comprehensive, tasks, including all of the aforementioned. We provide medication reminders so the senior takes the right medicines at the right times. Our caregivers do not administer medications, but we ensure medication compliance.
Incontinence often accompanies dementia. Our dementia caregivers discreetly assist seniors with toileting and all aspects of hygiene. When seniors wander, we gently guide them and ensure they do not fall. When agitation sets in due to feeling limited, our caregivers patiently de-escalate the situation.
Dementia patients benefit from reliable home care. This is why families with elderly loved ones living in the communities surrounding Aurora, Bartlett, Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, Illinois, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for high-quality memory care. Call us at (630) 332-2203 for an in-home consultation today.