Dementia affects many elderly people and if your loved one suffers from it, it’s important to have an understanding of what the disease is. This will enable you to manage their care effectively.

Typically, dementia sets in as a result of the person suffering from Alzheimer’s or a stroke. The disease begins slowly, but it can grow into a condition that affects every part of daily life.

It’s important to pick up on dementia early, as this will give your loved one the best chance of receiving effective treatment. Things to look out for in your loved one’s behaviour include memory loss, a struggle to find correct words when speaking, apathy and changes in mood, general confusion and a waning sense of direction. All of these early indicators are subtle changes in your loved one’s usual behaviour. So you are best placed to notice them. 

If you do notice that your loved is showing early signs of dementia, firstly, seek professional medical advice. But you and your loved one can do some simple things that will, either, prevent the disease, or slow its progress. These include a healthy, balanced diet and physical exercise, such as walking and staying active, which can promote the old, true maxim, “healthy body, healthy mind”. Mental exercises, such as puzzles, conversation, stories, games and books, can also be very effective in keeping the mind active and slowing down the onset of this disease. 

If your loved one is suffering from severe dementia then you should seek professional help. However, the majority of dementia sufferers will be mildly afflicted, especially in the early stages of the disease’s development. If this is the case, then there are some simple steps and precautions you can take around the home to help your loved one. 

It’s possible to make simple alterations to your loved one’s home and routine that will improve their quality of life. It’s important that dementia doesn’t affect your loved one’s ability to complete basic tasks, such as eating, washing and going to the toilet. For example, check that your loved one is eating and keeping their weight up, as dementia sufferers can forget meal times. Washing and personal hygiene can also be neglected, so make sure these are done regularly too.

Mobility and safety around the home can also be affected by dementia. Physically supporting your loved one, to help them sit and stand might be important as they grow weaker, and reminding them of where they are and how they can safely navigate their home to, for example, go to the bathroom will become more common over time. In time, a wheelchair may be required. 

Dementia is a complicated subject. We’re here to help you deal with it, so do get in touch with the Birdie Care Team via chat, phone or email for more detailed guidance. 

Remember, whilst dementia can be distressing, it’s not uncommon and there are ways to ease the burden. Don’t be disheartened. You can help to make things better. And Birdie can help.

With love and care,

Tracey

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