Dementia is the gradual loss of cognitive abilities brought on by certain diseases that affect the brain and its functioning.
All forms of dementia eventually result in memory loss, loss of thinking and judgment, behavioral and personality disorders, and physical deterioration.
However, the progression of dementia varies greatly from person to person. Various factors impact its progressions, such as a person’s age, lifestyle, diet, and any other ailments they could have.
6 Tips for Dementia Caregivers to Maintain a Healthy & Active Lifestyle for The Patient:
Patients with dementia need a live-in caregiver to assist with activities of daily living. Caring for a dementia patient can be hard since dementia affects the cognitive abilities of the patient. Here are some ways to help you provide dementia care with ease.
1. Create A Safe Environment:
Dementia affects memory and problem-solving abilities, which raises the risk of injuries among people. Below are some safety tips for a live-in caregiver:
- Avoid Falling: Prevent falls by removing things like rugs, cables or wires, and any other object that blocks the way usual walkway of the person. Additionally, install grabbing bars or railings where needed.
- Apply Locks: Install locks on any cabinets that contain unsafe items including medicines, alcohol, poisonous cleaning products, harmful utensils, and equipment.
- Bathing Safety: To avoid burns, turn down the water heater thermostat.
- Fires Safety Precautions: Keep lighters and matches out of reach. If dementia patient smokes, always keep an eye on them. Make sure a fire extinguisher is within reach, and smoke and carbon monoxide sensors are functioning.
2. Reduce Frustrations:
It becomes harder for a dementia patient to do activities of daily living. This can be frustrating for them. A live-in caregiver should be able to manage the anxiety and frustration of the patient.
- Make A Schedule: Plan everything properly. Manage everything from appointments to daily activities like bathing, eating, exercising, etc. Show flexibility if things go wrong or the patient forgets something.
- Give It Some Time: Live-in care can be challenging, however, giving yourself some time to plan tasks and prepare for them make it easier for you. You can take breaks to plan while the patient rests.
- Assist When Needed: Only help the patient when they ask or need it. This way, the patient will be able to do little tasks on their own without assistance. For example, you can let them eat and dress independently if they can.
- Make The Patient Choose: Every day, let the patient choose what they want to wear, eat, or drink. Ask if they want to go out for a walk or want to watch something.
- Communicate Clearly: Use clear and simple words to communicate with a dementia patient. It will make it easier for them to understand, respond, and remember.
- Limit Naps: Make sure that the patient is not frequently napping during the day. This way, the sleep schedule of the patient will get disturbed and they might feel irritated.
- Cut-Off Distractions: Live-in caregivers should make sure to cut-off distractions to make the patient concentrate on what they are doing e.g. while eating or talking.
3. Be Flexible:
Over time, dementia patients require more care and assistance. A live-in caregiver should stay flexible and modify the routine to manage their mood.
For instance, if the patients want their things to be kept in a particular manner, do not change them. If doing something irritates the patient, do it only when needed.
4. Maintain A Healthy Diet:
For those with moderate or severe dementia, eating regularly and healthfully may become difficult. They can forget to eat or believe they’ve already eaten due to multiple food options.
The body needs proper nutrients to stay strong and healthy. A person with dementia or Alzheimer’s may face weight loss and behavioral problems as a result of an inadequate diet.
The simple nutrition advice provided here can improve both the health of the dementia patient and your own health as a live-in caregiver.
Foods Dementia Patients Can Consume:
- Beans & Legumes
- Fresh Berries
- Colorful Vegetables & Fruits
- Tea & Coffee
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Probiotic Foods
Foods Dementia Patients Should Avoid:
- Fried Foods
- Soda and Sweetened Beverages
- Processed Meats
- Foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate)
5. Encourage Physical Activity:
Exercise is not only for athletes. Physical activity is very important for maintaining a healthy mind and body. The risk of dementia and other cognitive disabilities is higher among people who don’t engage themselves in regular exercise.
Exercise raises the oxygen levels in your brain, which prevents diseases that lead to memory loss and mental decline. Exercise also causes the production of endorphins, which are substances that reduce stress and depressive symptoms.
Doctors advise engaging in 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Every hour or so, even a simple walk around the home can assist to boost brain activity. Encouraging physical activity is the most important element of dementia care.
6. Encourage Brain Exercises:
Brain exercises keep the mind sharp and active. The live-in caregiver of the dementia patient should involve the person in brain exercises. For example, solving a crossword puzzle once every week or playing chess!
Starting the activity is the most difficult aspect of dementia care. You may spend 10 minutes each morning learning names for animals in some other language through a language-learning app. The brain can be awakened in countless ways. Choose what the patient prefers.
You won’t want to stop once you start! Your everyday routine will incorporate it, and you’ll start to feel that the patient is more active.
Dementia affects brain activity leading to memory loss and other cognitive abilities. Dementia incorporates mood, behavioral changes, and anxiety that make the person dependent. Live in caregiver are to assist the patient with everyday activities as well as to provide companionship.
However, it can be challenging for the caregiver to stay flexible, positive, and affectionate. To avoid inconvenience, it is necessary for the live-in caregiver to educate himself about dementia care and to have vital skills to assure the patient’s comfort and safety.
You can promote a healthy brain through a healthy life. By making them eat right, engaging in some exercise, and learning new things regularly.