Managing Care for Someone Diagnosed with Dementia
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Dementia is a progressive disease with loss of cognitive functioning due to certain issues affecting the brain. There is a lot of research being done on Dementia and before too long we hope that there is information on slowing down the progression of Dementia.
Over time, all types of dementia eventually lead to a loss of memory, reasoning, and judgment. There may also be impacts on an individuals personality and behaviour. Additionally, there may be functional and physical decline, and eventual death. The way dementia impacts a person varies significantly between individuals. There are more than 150 types of dementia and therefore it often takes a while to be properly diagnosed. It can take years.
When someone is diagnosed with a new condition it often comes as a shock and requires some time for adjustment. In this adjustment period, it is important for them and their loved ones to learn about their condition and how to manage it. The ways people adapt and cope with their newly diagnosed condition will vary, as they will be influenced by a range of factors. These factors include their previous experiences, personality, their understanding of dementia, the social and emotional supports they have available to them, and their current environment.
People react differently to each situation and will adopt various strategies at various times in their journey. It is important to be conscious of their situation when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it is an individual journey and a carers response should be tailored to each person. Here are my top ten tips to manage the care for someone recently diagnosed with dementia.
Top 10 Tips Dementia Care Tips
- Seek professional support and education through Dementia Services available from Health Care Services and community services.
- Do not assume that the person cannot understand you due to their condition, and include them in all conversations including the decision making process (as much as possible).
- Behave in ways that help them feel valued and included.
- Focus on what they have and not what they have lost.
- Consider their loss of self esteem and loss of confidence. Encourage them to stay positive and continue to focus on what they can do and what they enjoy instead of what they have lost.
- Communicate clearly and be aware of your use of tone and intonation.
- Be aware of non-verbal communication signs, as these may increase as the ability to verbally communicate becomes more difficult.
- Avoid making the person feel overwhelmed with multiple questions. Try to use closed ended questions when they are feeling overwhelmed.
- When requesting the person to take action, break down tasks into smaller more manageable tasks.
- Focus on enjoying the moment and try not to focus on what the future may or may not hold.
Supporting a loved one through a new diagnosis of dementia can be difficult. The good news is, that there are many services already available to assist people with dementia. For more information visit your local General Practitioner, contact Alzheimers Australia, Dementia Care Australia and ask us to help you find the right support: be guided by Danielle Robertson from DR Care Solutions.