Watching a loved one live with dementia can be heartbreaking. Between the deteriorating memory and the inability to do basic tasks, it can be hard to watch them struggle.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to support and help your loved one so that they don’t experience this alone. Read on to learn more about what dementia is as well as some tips on how to help and support your loved one.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is the term for overall loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive functioning. Though people consider it a disease, it is actually a condition that can be caused by several diseases. For example, one misconception is that dementia is the same as Alzheimer’s. However, Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes dementia. This disease accounts for up to 80% of dementia cases which explains why the two terms are used so interchangeable.
Furthermore, dementia is not a normal condition of aging. Though most cases of dementia occur in people who are sixty or older, it can also occur in people who are younger. Aging people without dementia do struggle a bit with memory or functioning, but not enough where it completely impacts their lives.
For more general information on dementia, head on over to BetterHelp for resources and further reading.
Signs of Dementia
Maybe you already know for sure that someone you love has dementia, or maybe you just have an inkling. Though most people can recognize the later stages of dementia, the early symptoms can be easy to overlook. Below are a few symptoms that dementia is developing:
- Problems with short-term memory
- Struggling to remember names of items
- Forgetting appointments or important dates
- Getting lost often
- Struggling with spatial awareness
- Difficulty concentration
- Struggling to follow a conversation
- Forgetting names and people
- Repeating questions
- Difficulty finding the right words or communicating effectively
How To Help And Support Someone With Dementia
When someone is experiencing dementia, they can no longer do basic tasks they are used to doing on their own. This means that they will need someone else to help them. Therefore, the best way to support them is by helping them with their chores and errands.
Some ways you can help someone with dementia include:
- Taking them to run their errands
- Making sure they have plenty of food in the fridge
- Driving them to important appointments
- Caring for their pets
- Helping them clean the house
- Assisting them with cooking
- Ensuring all of their bills are paid
- Calling them often when you can’t come over
- Spending quality time with them so they have socialization
- Making sure they are eating well and drinking water
- Making them finger foods if they struggle to use utensils
- Installing night lights in their home so they can walk around at night
- Assisting them with bathing
- Remaining patient, friendly, and helpful no matter what
- Hiring someone to come over and care for them if you are unable to
In the beginning, it will be easier to help someone you love with dementia as the symptoms aren’t severe. During this time, you may only need to help with simple things like taking them to the grocery store. However, as time goes on, dementia progresses, and the person will need more care.
Dementia is a progressive condition that affects millions of people. If your loved one has dementia, it can be heartbreaking to watch. However, with patience and love, you can fully support and help your loved one as they experience this difficult condition.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.