Dementia is a disease that affects memory and cognitive ability, but symptoms can also have a toll on emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing. Adjusting to ever-changing needs can be challenging and often yields a sense of loss. As a family member or caregiver, it’s important to be sensitive to your loved one’s experiences and their progressing needs.
Eventually, your family member will require a helping hand and professional memory care services. As a loved one or caregiver, there are a few things you should know. Learn more about the best ways you can meet their needs at St. Barnabas Health System.
Help With Daily Tasks and Household Duties
A well-rounded support system can have a significant impact on you and your loved one. As dementia progresses, you may need to step in to take care of everyday tasks. Depending on the severity of the condition, this may include:
- Making appointments
- Preparing meals/feeding
- Financial management
- Household chores and laundry
Caregivers are also responsible for managing a variety of medications. They administer the correct dosages, ensure all necessary medication is taken, and facilitate a medication routine. As a caregiver, it’s essential to remain organized, open, and communicative. You will need to provide at-home care instructions and collaborate with doctors and family members to ensure your loved one receives the appropriate care.
Plan Engaging Activities and Exercise
Dementia can seriously impact one’s quality of life, leading to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. You can play a role in avoiding this by providing companionship and keeping your loved one active. Even a simple walk to the park can allow them to get some fresh air and exercise. If you and your loved one are comfortable, you can even try planning trips like going to the movies or shopping.
You can also organize enriching activities that help stimulate brain function. Relating these activities to your loved one’s interests and favorite hobbies encourages participation while fostering cognitive stimulation. Some of the activities you can do include:
- Listening to music
- Practicing daily skills, like cooking, watering plants, or clearing dishes
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Sorting objects, like screws, buttons, or coins
- Arts and crafts
While it’s crucial to stimulate the mind through activities and exercises, it’s just as important to ensure your loved one isn’t overstimulated. If they are easily triggered by loud noises, large gatherings, or lots of movement, plan on more private activities in a peaceful setting.
Provide Support for Your Loved One
It can be challenging for those with dementia to cope with their condition, especially as they become forgetful, confused, or less aware there’s an issue. That’s why it’s so important to help them not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Educating yourself on dementia is the first step to determining the best course of care.
However, individuals with dementia aren’t the only ones who may need emotional support. Dementia can take a toll on close relatives as well. It’s essential to involve them in care decisions to provide peace of mind. If you are a family member who has been affected by dementia and is seeking guidance, St. Barnabas support groups can help.
Our support groups provide more than just reassurance; they also serve as a resource for receiving practical advice and developing coping strategies. What’s more, our participants often feel a sense of companionship with the group and end up building meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.
Schedule a Memory Care Consultation at St. Barnabas
If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with dementia, St. Barnabas Health System is here to give you the support you need. Serving individuals across Allegheny, Beaver, and Butler counties and the Greater Pittsburgh surrounding area, we have a variety of memory care services to offer. For more information, contact us today.