Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging. Dementia can lead to the loss of not only memory, but also of reasoning, judgment, physical health, and more. With so many things to look for, it’s important to recognize some of the common special needs of people with dementia so you can better aid them.
As dementia progresses, it can cause communication issues that can result in repeated stories or difficulty remembering words or phrases. However, just because a person with dementia can’t express themselves the way they want doesn’t mean they don’t need clear communication in return. They can still experience feelings and emotions, and can often still respond even if they have trouble understanding. It’s important to show compassion when communicating with dementia patients; they still have the same social needs as other people, they just require more patience during conversations.
People living with dementia can still suffer from the same health concerns as anyone else, but they may not remember to take care of their basic health needs. Are they brushing their teeth regularly? Are they taking their pills? Are they eating properly? Sometimes dementia patients don’t remember to eat, so it’s important to make sure that they’re getting all their meals and nutrients, and that they’re taking their medications regularly. They can’t always communicate when something is wrong, so regular medical and dental appointments are essential to keeping them healthy.
As dementia progresses, places and activities that were once familiar can become dangerous. Dementia can affect judgment, sense of time and place, and physical ability, so even the most familiar places, like the home, can present safety hazards. Garages, work rooms, and basements often have tools and chemicals, and areas like the kitchen or bathroom can present appliance and fall hazards. Even the yard can be dangerous, so make sure to keep walkways well-lit and free of tripping hazards. Luckily, there are a number of safety precautions you can put in place, such as installing appliances with auto shut-off features, automatic thermometers for water temperatures, walk-in showers, grab bars, textured mats on slippery surfaces, and more.
At Dementia Caring, we’re proud to support people with dementia to increase their quality of life with the help of our caregivers. Check out our website for more information!