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Living with Dementia

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Living with dementia entails two aspects- First is living with the person who has dementia and second is self care for day-to-day living. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease although other reasons like stroke in brain may also contribute to it.  Initially, the person is capable of coping alone but gradually in the last stages in Alzheimer’s disease, the patient becomes completely dependent on his/her caregiver. Accept it or not dementia is a lonesome disease.

We shall deal with the topic from the perspective of a caregiver as well as the patient.

How to take care of a person with Dementia?

Patience: You have to be immensely patient. Always remember, your patient is not doing anything consciously and has lost that mental ability to remember and enact. Balancing the situation at times might seem next to impossible but it’s that challenge that you need to overcome and help that person to cope with the circumstances.

Understand the Behaviour Changes: Your loved one or your patient might throw anger tantrums at certain situations because of his inability to remember and deal with the situation like a normal individual. Many times it may be embarrassing for you. He or she might withdraw from you or crave to stay away from crowded places. Always Show Empathy and Love.

There are few things that you must remember while dealing with people with dementia:

  • Always keep a check if he needs to be assisted in bathroom
  • Help him remember if he is trying to recall something
  • Be friendly, establish good eye contact and sometimes use non-verbal means of communication
  • Check when he feels hungry, needs grooming and dress up

Coping With Dementia: Self Care Tips

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If you have already got a hint that you are having dementia, then you can consciously follow these tips to bring a change in your life.

Stay Happy and Positive: Treat your health condition as normal, don’t think that you have dementia. Lead a normal healthy life- dress up well, eat nutritious and exercise daily.

Be Social and keep active: Feeling alone and isolated are normally associated with this disorder. In such circumstances, try to overcome the desolated feeling. Interact with your friends and loved ones. If you have grandchildren at home, then spend time with them. Indulge in your hobbies even if you feel like forgetting everything.

Periodic Counselling: Meet your counsellor and doctor frequently. Learn new techniques of communicating with people, to remember things, and various other activities that will improve your health.

Intelligent tips to live independently while having dementia:

  • Maintain a diary and note down each and every thing that you remember
  • Keep a record of phone numbers, emergency numbers and addresses always with you
  • Label things that you tend to forget- like medicines, mark the drawers and other personal belongings
  • Keep keys in front of the door so that you remember carrying them while leaving home
  • Place a calendar in your wall, note down your timetable or any other schedule that needs reminder over there or in your phone
  • Walk carefully, cross roads carefully, always carry your address with you while stepping out.

Living with dementia is indeed tough, but today there are so many healthcare facilities and privileges for elderly people that it’s not impossible to cope with the situation. Nevertheless, you have to keep yourself motivated and imagine self as a perfectly normal healthy individual.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 04, 2015