Dementia isn’t one singular disease. It’s an umbrella term for many symptoms that arise from disorders affecting the brain. When someone is diagnosed with dementia, many areas of their life may be affected. They may have trouble thinking, remembering, or caring for themselves.
As of 2021, it is estimated that over 470,000 people in Australia are living with dementia. And one in ten people over the age of 65 will develop dementia in Australia. If your friend or loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it is important to understand how to best support them.
Living with dementia can be distressing for the affected person, as well as their friends and family. Communication may become more difficult as the disease progresses. So, it is good practice to speak slowly and clearly. Repeat information where necessary while using physical touch for reassurance. Your loved one may feel embarrassed or upset when struggling to communicate. So, most importantly, remain calm, friendly, and patient.
The surroundings of someone living with dementia can have a large impact on their wellbeing. Loud, dark, or messy places can cause distress and confusion. Ensure that every room is brightly lit and free from hazards.
Your loved one may need help remembering to lock the door. Or turn on heating and cooling systems. Reminders such as post-it notes, or alarms may help. Placing pictures of family and friends around a living area may also assist with remembering and trigger happy memories.
If the person living with dementia is having trouble with recollection, routine is essential. Keep things like reading glasses and mobile phones in the same place. And avoid rearranging rooms and moving belongings. If you are giving support with personal care, try to provide meals or baths at the same time each day. Associating activities with the time of day may also help. For example, a daily walk at 10 a.m. or a cup of tea in the afternoons.
If you decide your loved one living with dementia may need extra care, in home care services may be the right choice. In home care can allow your loved one to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment while receiving valuable help.
Click here to learn more about Simply Helping’s in home care services.