Dealing with dementia requires a great deal of understanding and patience – both from relatives and caregivers and from those affected. Symptoms such as diminishing memory and increasing disorientation often increase when people react with frustration and impatience to it. Read more about how to deal with dementia – the right communication, meaningful employment for dementia patients, support in everyday life!
Dealing with dementia: tips for those affected
Diagnosis Dementia triggers fears, worries and questions for many concerned: How long can I take care of myself? How should I deal with the increasing dementia symptoms? What can I do to alleviate it?
In the early stages of dementia, sufferers experience the best way to cope with their everyday lives, if they are well informed about the disease, deal with it openly and get help if needed.
Maintain social contacts and hobbies
For a good deal with dementia, it is important to stay active. Regular meetings with friends, excursions, and hobbies that you’ve cared for before the diagnosis should be kept as long as possible. Those who are active can keep their learning longer and train their independence. Adequate activity during the day also ensures a good night’s sleep.
It makes sense to participate in leisure or senior groups. In advanced stages of dementia, patients should join a dementia care group.
In the planning and design of the leisure life affected persons should not be overstretched: It is better to do less work in peace, rather than rushing through the day from one activity to the next.
Adapt activities and learn new things
For some dementia patients, old hobbies are becoming increasingly difficult, for example reading thick books, solving complicated puzzles or building elaborate model airplanes. The proper way to deal with dementia is not to give up such activities as much as possible, but to adapt them accordingly.
For example, you may prefer to read short stories and newspaper articles, to undertake lighter puzzles, or to get lighter models with larger components.
Such activities are good brain and memory training. Dementia patients should not only stick to the tried and tested, but also learn new things such as dancing, playing music, painting or playing puzzles. Also useful are special games for dementia sufferers, such as board games (possibly simplified), ball games or word games (such as guessing or adding proverbs).
Structure the day
Dealing with dementia and its symptoms is easier for people affected if they structure their day well. For all activities such as sleeping, eating, washing, walk, meeting with friends, sports etc. you should get used to fixed times. This helps with orientation and avoids stress.
The right way to deal with dementia allows many affected people to run the household for a long time, for example, to cook, to shop, to do laundry or to work in the garden. If necessary, relatives or caregivers can provide assistance.
Regular exercise is also beneficial in dementia. He trains the muscles, the coordination and the sense of balance. Dementia sufferers should choose a sport that they can do well and that they like. This can be, for example, gymnastics, swimming or dancing. It’s even more fun to train together with others, for example in sports clubs.
When walking and standing can cause problems, walking aids and rollators can help.
Balanced food and drink a lot
If patients do not eat well and drink too little, it can worsen dementia symptoms. Therefore, a varied diet and adequate hydration are very important.
In some patients, however, the taste, the joy of eating and the appetite are lost. This can counteract more intensive seasoning of the food and more variety on the menu. You can also distribute small bowls of fruit, vegetable and chocolate pieces in the apartment. This tempts dementia patients to access again and again. Those who can no longer cook themselves, have the opportunity to order “food on wheels”.
The daily drinking amount should be at least 1.5 liters, preferably in the form of soups, water, juices or tea. Again, it makes sense to set up bottles of drinks in several places in the apartment.
Tips against forgetfulness
Dementia patients should try to keep important items that they need more often (keys, money, glasses, etc.) always in the same place. Important telephone numbers and addresses should always be at hand, preferably both at a fixed place in the home and in the purse / wallet.
Appointments and appointments should be entered in a calendar.
Dealing with dementia: tips for relatives and caregivers
Relatives and caregivers as well as those affected are easier to deal with dementia if they know about the nature and possible course of the disease. In addition, there are other tips that can improve and facilitate the handling of dementia patients.
Good dementia care includes proper communication with patients. However, this becomes increasingly difficult as the disease progresses – patients are always more forgetful, can not remember names, dates, word meanings, and often only formulate sentences slowly. That requires a lot of understanding and patience from the fellow human beings.
Memories can be helpful here: you can, for example, on small sheets of information about the daily routine or answers to common questions of patients (such as the day of the week, the place of residence, etc.) noted. This note is then stuck to busy areas such as the refrigerator or bathroom door.
Another reminder that can facilitate and promote communication in dementia is a memory book. There you stick photos of important events and people from the patient’s life and write each a short note (type of event, name, etc.) below.
In conversation with dementia patients, the following tips should be heeded:
- Praise the dementia patient if he did something right. Do not criticize for mistakes.
- Wait patiently for the patient to answer questions or respond to a request.
- If possible, formulate questions in such a way that the patient can respond with “yes” or “no”.
- Establish eye contact prior to each conversation and address the patient by name.
- Slowly, clearly and in short sentences.
- Avoid ironic or satirical remarks – the dementia patient usually does not understand them.
- Repeat important information several times, such as the time you want to go to a doctor’s appointment or walk.
- Avoid discussions.
- Ignoring accusations and allegations – they are often not meant to be personal, but only reflect fear, frustration and helplessness.
- No more than two offers (such as food or drinks) to choose from – everything else confuses dementia sufferers.
An important model for communication with demented people is called Validation: Dementia patients are trying to reach where they are, as it were. They are left in their own world and do not doubt their opinions and views. It is therefore about appreciation and seriousness (= validation) of the dementia patient.
As much help as necessary – not more!
Relatives and caregivers should be patient when dealing with dementia patients: in activities such as dressing, combing or flower-casting, dementia patients are often quite slow. Out of impatience or exaggerated care, relatives and caregivers often try to provide more help than necessary.
It is better, however, not to take everything away from the patient, but to give him time to do the things himself. This not only trains the brain, it also prevents dementia patients from feeling treated like a child.
It is also not very helpful if you are impatient. Then dementia patients feel additionally pressured.
Stimulate the senses
Familiar smells from the past can arouse buried memories. This may be the perfume of your own mother or the smell of machine oil if a dementia patient used to work in a car repair shop.
Other sensory stimuli (touching, tasting, seeing) can also stimulate people with dementia, give them pleasure and awaken memories.
For your own relief
Patience, strength, time, understanding – the Dealing with dementiaPatients are exhausting and demand a lot from relatives and caregivers. Regular recovery and relief are therefore very important.