How to help someone with Dementia

There are lots of little changes you can make to help an individual with Dementia be safer whilst still keeping some independence.

Receiving a Dementia diagnosis can feel like the world has stopped, but that does not have to be the case. Yes, it can be a little daunting, perhaps even a little bit scary but it’s important to understand the symptoms and investigate ways in which everyday life can continue with just some minor adjustments to ensure safety is paramount. 

The help an individual requires differs per person and is dependent on the severity of the Dementia, but there are lots of different things that can be done. Below are a few different things you can think about implementing:

  1. Care around the home - It is important to have a strong support network in place. You can decide whether family and friends can cope with the adjustments, whether you need regular home care support or even a mix of both. Most people have family and friends that can support them, but they also have their own busy lifestyles so they may opt for a care at home provider to help with respite care. 
  2. Training on Dementia and specifically how to lift an individual carefully - if family and friends are assisting then it is recommended that they get the right training.
  3. Help around the house - whilst it is recommended that they stay home and in a familiar environment, they may not be able to keep up with their normal tasks such as housework, gardening, shopping, looking after pets or even getting to their normal social activities. By assisting them within these tasks, it means that they can keep some routine and level of normality and independence which has been found to prolong Dementia symptoms. 
  4. Make the house Dementia-friendly - there are lots of little things you can do around the house to help with their cognitive ability as well as helping them to see and hear better. 
    • - You can implement memory aids around the house such as labels and signs on doors and cupboards so that they can visually read and see what is inside each room or storage. Remember pictures and words work best, don’t stick with one or the other.
    • - Reduce background noise so that it makes it easier for them to concentrate. 
    • - Try to opt for carpeted floors as laminate or tiling can be quite loud. If an individual also wears a hearing aid it can magnify noise for them and upset them. 
    • - Avoid rugs as these can be a tripping hazard.
    • - Automatic light sensors can be ideal to light the way, especially on an evening.
    • - Ensure lighting is good - this can mean curtains are open, no extra blinds or netting in the windows. Also, make sure that hedges and trees are cut back to let natural light in.
    • - Ensure you have telephones with big buttons as well as clocks with large LCD displays showing the date and time. 
    • - Implement reminder devices to lock the door and take medicines. 
  5. Keep a focus on their eating and drinking habits -  as we’ve mentioned before, those with Dementia can have difficulty remembering and have poor concentration. This means that mealtimes and drinks can sometimes be forgotten.
    • - Set aside time for mealtimes so you can ensure they have their 3 meals a day and someone is there to watch them finish their meal. 
    • - Always leave drinks around the house to remind them. 
    • - Make small meals that you know they like.
    • - Their taste buds may change so make a note of what they enjoy. 
    • - Ensure you have lots of snacks such as biscuits so you can make sure they’re still nibbling throughout the day. 
    • - Finger food is best as it’s easier for them to eat.
  6. Change the way you communicate - 
    • - It’s important to change the way you communicate but remember not to come across as patronising. 
    • - If they get things wrong and it’s doing no harm, go with the flow. It only embarrasses them when you correct them constantly. 
    • - Make eye contact with the individual
    • - Speak slower and use shorter sentences.
    • - Give them time to respond
    • - Avoid complicated choices. For example, if you want to know what they would like for lunch, don’t ask what they want for lunch, simply give them a few choices.
  7. Make sure regular eye and ear appointments are in the diary
  8. Try and encourage fresh air and exercise - by keeping an individual active it can help them to stay active. 
    • - If they have a garden, make sure that surfaces are flat to prevent trips and falls. You will also need to ensure that the garden is secure so that they can’t go wandering. 
    • - Raised flower beds are a great way to make it easier for them to continue tending to their gardens.
    • - Make sure that there are sheltered seating areas as this will mean they’ve got somewhere to sit whatever the weather. 
    • - Bird feeders and bug boxes are a great way to attract wildlife. If you plant a variety of flowers and herbs, then you’ll have lots of visuals for them to sit and look at.

If you have any questions about Dementia and how we can support you, get in touch with us on 01292 435810.

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