Caring for Someone with Dementia at Home

older man walking outside with female caregiver

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

December 4, 2019


A deteriorating memory is a common but concerning sign of the aging process. Learn how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s at home.

 

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Caring for those with declining health can be physically and emotionally exhausting. In order to know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, a caregiver needs to learn about each condition. Understanding the disease a patient lives with helps caregivers compassionately work through difficult situations.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are both conditions that affect the brain’s function, particularly in terms of thinking and memory. Although similar, they are not the same diagnosis. 

Dementia is a broader term that encompasses a wide range of diseases categorized by a loss of memory and thinking skills, which affect daily life. Some types of dementia include:

Alzheimer’s is a subset of dementia; a progressive disease that impairs a patient’s memory and cognitive ability to think properly. The majority of adults, 65 years and older, suffer from Alzheimer’s—the most common form of dementia.

 

Caring For Alzheimer’s Patient

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that requires careful oversight because a patient’s health can decline at a rapid pace. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge for families because of their changes in personality, physical abilities, and daily functionality. Communication becomes especially difficult as time goes on.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be just as scary for the older adult suffering from it as it is for the primary caregiver. Empathy is an intrinsic part of providing compassionate care. When you are caring for someone with dementia at home, consider how they are feeling and try to meet them where they are at.

Older adults with a memory loss condition frequently forget where they are, how things work, who they are, who other people are, etc. Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t know where you were or the person in your home. Patience and empathy are necessary for working through these situations.

Patients who suffer from one of these deteriorating brain diseases may require 24 hour home care for their own safety. If not watched carefully, patients may forget to take their daily medication or controlling bodily functions like using the bathroom. Professional caregivers can help with ambulating a patient, medication reminders, meal preparation, and even short term care to give primary caregivers a break.

 

Respite Care

Please know, if you are a primary caregiver to a loved one—it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes, caregivers simply need to step away from their duties and rest for their own wellbeing. As a caregiver, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will not be functioning at full capacity to care well for others.

As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Respite care for caregivers provides short-term relief to those who are constantly pouring out their time and attention to loved ones. A federal Lifespan Respite Care Act has even been put in place to ensure that family caregivers are able to take time off from their full-time caregiver duties.

Self-care for caregivers is just as important as caring for the patient in need. Do yourself a favor and take some time to breathe, reset and destress. Whether you call a neighbor, friend, family member, or professional home health care agency like Commonwise Home Care, let others support you in your dedicated care for others.

 

In Home Care Services

In home care is not a one size fits all service. Every family’s loved one has a unique situation or need that requires intentional, personalized care. At Commonwise Home Care, our goal is to provide the highest level of care by the most compassionate caregivers. 

As a home care agency, we provide long term care and short term assistance by professional caregivers. Our caregivers know how to care for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, so you can have peace of mind. We understand that every older adult has specific health conditions that require a high-touch level of care, which is why we create a personal care plan for each patient.

For more information on the Commonwise Home Care difference, call 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

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