Living With a Family Member with Dementia
According to statistical data, around 9% of Americans aged 65 and over suffer from some form of dementia. If not handled correctly, dementia has been known to bring grief and strife into families. It’s important to understand that dementia is not a disease but a symptom of a more complex neurological disorder. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s with an estimated 5 million Americans living with the condition in 2019.
Understanding the Problem
With so many myths and incorrect assumptions circulating about dementia, many people fail to grasp the fact that it’s a manageable condition. Over 83% of the care provided to older adults with dementia comes from members of the family, friends or unpaid caregivers. While some forms of dementia are temporarily brought on by triggers such as head injuries, vitamin deficiencies, or alcoholism, other forms are more neurodegenerative and get worse with time.
If your loved one has some form of dementia, it’s imperative that you understand the underlying causes behind different behavior issues and causes of discomfort. This way the condition will become easier to manage while allowing you to enjoy your time with your loved one as much as possible!
Identifying the Source of Discomfort
One of the most daunting parts of caring for a loved one with dementia is dealing with an agitated patient. Agitation in a person who’s living with dementia can cause violent outbursts and disturbing behavior which can take an emotional toll on their loved ones. Caregivers tend to blame themselves and often feel guilty, which helps no one. The source of agitation is mostly not personal and has more to do with something medical or physical that’s causing discomfort for the patient.
It could be due to lack of sleep, loneliness, changes in routine or the environment, pain from sitting in the same position for a long time, or side-effects of certain medicines.
Anything that affects the comfort zone of the person suffering from dementia can trigger a violent episode. The caregiver needs to understand it’s not personal and carefully consider the medical requirements, social needs, and regular routine of the patient to curb and minimize these episodes.
The way you communicate and speak to a person who has dementia matters a lot. Avoid any direct confrontations or too many questions that can increase the confused state of the patient. If you need to ask something, phrase it simply and give them plenty of time to respond.
Getting frustrated will help no one and will only agitate your loved one. Keep the sentences short and offer regular reassurances. Engage with them often to make sure they don’t feel too lonely. Be prepared to handle repeated questions and statements and try to answer them without showing any signs of frustration and annoyance.
Dealing with dementia in a loved one can cause feelings of fear, frustration, and helplessness in all those who live with them. It’s important to reach out every now and then and ask for help and support. Join support groups for people who’re going through the same thing as you are for empathy and understanding. It’ll also help you learn new ways to deal with issues by listening to others who’ve experienced similar situations.
AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care can help you take care of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia. We provide the best comprehensive care through our memory care facility, assisted living for seniors, and senior living community. Our qualified staff is well-equipped to handle the various stages of dementia symptoms with compassion.
For more details and information about our comprehensive services and amenities, take a virtual tour of our elder care facilities in Calabasas, CA, or give us a call at (818) 881-0055.