Dealing with Dementia: A Caretaker’s Guide

Dementia is an umbrella term that’s used to describe a general cognitive decline that’s strong enough to impair a patient’s ability to carry out routine activities. The most common type is Alzheimer’s disease which affects the majority of cases. Symptoms associated with dementia include short-term memory loss and the inability to concentrate.

As a result, patients suffering from dementia can exhibit a number of alarming and often self-harming tendencies. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 15 million Americans are responsible for taking care of dementia patients in one form or another. In this blog, we’ll offer a small guide for caretakers on how to deal with dementia patients.

Confusion regarding Time or Place

Dementia patients can shout statements like “I want to go home”, even though they are at home. The progressive damage to the patient’s cognitive functioning may lead to confusion regarding time and place. Often, requesting to go home, the patient is referring to his or her childhood or adulthood home where they had more control.

In such cases, offering simple explanations along with visual items such as photographs is the best approach to solving the problem. Other times, redirecting them with statements such as “Would you like to take a walk” or “It’s time for dinner, are you feeling hungry?” can divert the problem.

Suspicions and Hallucinations

Falling senses result in hallucinations whereby the patient begins to sense or perceive things that are not real. When this happens, it’s important to maintain your calm and not argue about what is fantasy and what is real. Instead, agree with what they’re saying and adapt according to the situation. If they’re feeling scared, offer words of comfort or move them to another room. You can also distract them with another activity such as asking them about the weather.

A loss of memory and confusion can cause dementia patients to become suspicious of caretakers and those around them.

Wandering Around Without Supervision

Dementia patients tend to wander off without informing anyone due to two primary reasons: disorientation and restlessness. The patient may become restless when they experience hunger, thirst, constipation, or pain. Disorientation, on the other hand, is generally thought to result from boredom, anxiety, or stress. Both of these emotions can be prevented by carrying out the following activities:

  • Reducing the surrounding noise
  • Directing both behaviors by turning it into a different activity
  • Distracting the person with another activity
  • Consulting the doctor if wandering because frequent

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can take a toll on both the patient and the caretaker that have to remain ever vigilant. Remember, there are always other options you can choose such as turning to assisted living communities. AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care is a senior care community in Woodland Hills, CA that has a team of highly trained caretakers who give extra care and attention to Dementia patients. Contact us today for more information.