One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia to some extent at an advanced stage in their lives. Over half of those will deliberately delay receiving a diagnosis for at least six months after first noticing some symptoms. It seems that many of us prefer to put our heads in the sand, hoping it will go away or that it is our imagination. However, it is better to find out exactly what is going on so that relevant treatment and help can be put in place.
Fear seems to be one reason for denial but that is entwined with worry about treatment or how their lives might change. It is not just the person experiencing early symptoms of dementia who is sometimes in denial. It can also happen that the adult child does not want to admit that their parent, aunt or uncle has the early symptoms.
Dementia describes a range of conditions that can cause damage to our brain. This means that our memory, thinking, language and / or our ability to complete everyday tasks can be affected.
Many people believe that the only solution is admittance to a nursing home. However, independent living can be maintained for a long time in many cases. People differ in that some will have very mild symptoms for a long time, others may move to the moderate stage and remain at that phase for some length. The important thing is not to hide it but to seek help and treatment so that independent living can continue for a considerable length of time. Every person has a different experience and the progression will vary too.
Symptoms of early dementia can include:
- Memory loss such as difficulty thinking of the right word or remembering events
- Difficulty doing puzzles
- Confusion in following conversations, television programmes or book plots
- Changes in the person’s mood or behaviour
- Asking the same question or telling the same story over again
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Becoming confused in a relatively normal situation
Tips to help with dementia:
- Establishing a routine
- Keep items in the same place all the time. These would include things like medication, car keys, house keys, glasses, phone, and handbag or wallet.
- Pay bills by direct debit so you know they are dealt with
- Use pill boxes for medication so it is easier to keep track of what you have taken
- Don’t rush, take your time when doing tasks and do one thing at a time
How a carer can help people with dementia:
- Independent living is possible for many years – as long as people have a little help so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance
- Provides reminders, for example, with the taking of medication
- Provides companionship with the homecare (and can check things in the house)
- Can help to establish a routine
- Assists with dressing or feeding if necessary
- Can tidy up and do odd jobs around the house
- Can provide the family with some respite
- A thorough care plan is drawn up and is evaluated regularly to ensure a high standard of care
- Overnight care is available if necessary
If you have any questions regarding home care for a person with early or moderate dementia, do get in touch. We are happy to answer any queries, large or small.
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