If you’re someone who is suffering from dementia, you’ll have both good days and bad days. However emphasising on leading a healthier life can let you prepare well and let you focus on devoting all your energies towards whatever is good for you. Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which progresses with time to end up at a critical stage which is usually the last stage. At the later stage of dementia, the patients forget everything and fail to recognize even their spouse, children and grandchildren. This is the time when the caregivers may also get tired of taking care of the patients and may end up in stress.

Does the person suffering from dementia prefer to live in a communal environment or does he require taking more care than what is usually provided at home by the caregiver? Seeking help of a residential facility might be a proper option. Dementia care at home can be provided in several ways and if you are a caregiver who is not sure about what your options are, scroll down for more details.

Residential care for dementia patients – Knowing the types

In the next section of this post, you will get to know more on the various types of residential care in order to take care of your near and dear one. Check out the options.

#1: RETIREMENT HOUSING

Someone who is going through the early stage of Alzheimer’s can seek help of retirement house as the patient is still at the stage where he can take his basic care. When the patient is at that stage where he can take proper care of himself but can’t manage his entire household, retirement living is an appropriate option for him. This type of housing care facility needs restrained supervision and can also offer opportunities for transportation, social activities and several other amenities and services. If you’re a resident of Kings Park, you may search for Home Care Kings Park where they send professionals to take care of your patient at home.

#2: ASSISTED LIVING

When a caregiver chooses assisted living, this can easily bridge the gap between living in a nursing home and living all by your own. Assisted living provides a combination of meals, housing, health care and supportive services. These living facilities aren’t regulated by the federal government and their control varies from one state to another. You also need to keep in mind that all assisted living facilities don’t offer services which are tailor-made for dementia patients.

#3: NURSING HOMES

These are also called custodial care or long-term care facility as they offer round-the-clock medical treatment. Majority of the nursing homes usually have staff and services to address issues like care planning, nutrition, recreation, medical care and spirituality. The nursing homes usually have various staff-to-resident ratios. Usually these long-term care facilities have more training and experience with treating dementia than other staff. Moreover, these are licensed by the state and they’re regulated by the government.

#4: ALZHEIMER’S SCUs (SPECIAL CARE UNIT)

SCUs are designed in such a manner that they’re designed to meet particular needs of people with Alzheimer’s and several other forms of dementia. The Special Care Units take different forms with types of residential care. They offer cluster settings where people suffering from dementia are grouped in a unit within a residential care facility. Due to the fact that laws of different states vary from one another, it is vital to ask few questions about the kind of care that is offered by the SCU in order to make sure the level is perfect for the person.

Leading a healthy life with Alzheimer’s – How can self help be the best help?

As long as living a healthy life with dementia is concerned, it involves determining the influences which have an impact on your regular experience of living with the disease. The health impacts related to maintaining your emotional, physical, spiritual and social health can enhance your daily life. If you can educate yourself on the disease and plan few coping strategies, you can easily create a solid foundation through which you can cope with new changes and challenges. Here are few tips to keep in mind.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

This is probably the most important step that you need to take in order to remain healthy. Without exercise and proper diet, life is tough. You need to adopt a rather healthy lifestyle so that you can easily live well for as long a time as is possible for you.

  • Go for regular check-ups and try to set up a trustworthy relationship with the physician so that you can share everything with him.
  • Plan a proper routine for exercise and diet.
  • A care team has to be created so that they can realize your personal health needs and also monitor or respond to any kind of changes that may occur with the progression of the disease.
  • Drink minimum amount of alcohol.
  • Take rest whenever you’re tired and try to listen to the demands of your body. Even though you may feel like overextending yourself, be mindful about it.
  • Don’t change medicines or doses without informing your doctor.

PERFORM EXERCISES

There have been several studies which have shown the beneficial relation between physical exercise and Alzheimer’s and MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment). If you perform mild-to-moderate exercise, this will later on slow down the decline in cognitive functioning, cure symptoms of depression, reduce stress and decline risk of falling down. Exercise has a direct impact on brain cells as they boost the flow of oxygen and blood. Exercise can also safeguard the health of your brain by improving your cardiovascular system too. It is only through an active lifestyle that you can preserve your sense of independence. However, cross-check with your health professional before you begin a new exercise.

FOLLOW PROPER DIET

Which are the eating patterns that are healthy for your heart? Have you heard of Mediterranean diet? This diet is appropriate for overall health and can also safeguard your brain from mental health disorders. The Mediterranean diet includes very little red meat and gives stress on fish, veggies, fruits, grains, olive oil, nuts and other healthy fats. Include the person with dementia when you try out new recipes.

KEEP YOUR MIND STIMULATED

On the other hand, there are several other experts who think that there is no proper evidence which prove that brain physical workouts and reverse mental impairment. But if you can keep your mind engaged by either taking a class or learning new language or trying a new hobby, this can boost your brain activity. There are few kinds of mental exercises which can have an added advantage on connecting you with others while also improving your mental health. In case you’re someone who enjoys brain exercises and loves all sorts of mental stimulation, continue doing them.

CARING FOR YOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

You have to embrace the changes that occur to your mental and emotional state if you have to come to terms with such a serious illness like dementia and Alzheimer’s. There are different types of unwanted emotions and feelings which can be triggered due to your relationships, your frustration, your stigma and other regular changes. You can talk regarding your feelings with someone whom you may trust like your partner, spouse, pastor or counselor. They might often tell you about an altogether different perspective with which you may feel easier to adjust with the disease. Here are few tips to improve your emotional health:

  • Try to experience a wide range of emotions as there’s no wrong or right way to feel
  • Get to know how the others who are suffering from the same disease are living with it and how they’re trying to support their emotions
  • Maintain extremely close relationships with people and family members around you so that you can always feel overwhelmed by emotion. Due to changes in your behavior, others should be able to validate your feelings.
  • You can establish a different kind of social network where you mix with people who are also going through an early stage of dementia. This is certainly a good place to start.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR SOCIAL HEALTH

When you can have a strong relationship and also a social network, this can have an effect on your health. If you are able to connect with people who are living at the early stage of dementia, this can be a satisfying and comforting experience. It is rather vital to build a support network with others as this normalizes whatever you experience and reduces the stigmatic approach towards dementia.

Coping with dementia – 5 Simple tips to keep in mind

  • Tackle the level of stress that you take: Stress is something which can lead to physical issues like stomach irritation, blurred vision or high blood pressure. Moreover, it can also lead to behavioral changes like lack of concentration, irritability and appetite change. You have to note down all symptoms with your doctor. Watch out for other relaxation techniques which work for you.
  • Realize you’re doing your best: You have to keep in mind that being a caregiver, you’re performing the best that you can and this is going to create a huge difference. You might sometimes feel guilty because you think you won’t be able to do anything more for the patient. No you may not be able to promise the way in which care is delivered but you can certainly ensure that the person is taken care of and is safe.
  • Have realistic expectations: There’s no doubt about the fact that the care that you offer will always make a difference in the behavior of the patient but still there will be several other behaviors which can’t be controlled by the caregiver. Focus on the positive aspects of life, grieve over the losses and enjoy each and every good memory that you have. In short, keep setting real expectations.
  • Set an optimistic mood to interact: Your body language and attitude can communicate all your thoughts and feelings in a stronger manner than by speaking words. You should always speak to the patient in a respectful and pleasant manner. Use a proper tone of voice, facial expressions and physical touch to convey the message and display affectionate feelings.
  • Messages should be stated clearly: While speaking to the person, use simple sentences and words. Be slow while speaking, be distinct and speak in a reassuring tone. The pitch of your voice should be low enough and avert raising your voice. In case the patient doesn’t understand what you say at the first attempt, try rephrasing the message with easier words. Instead of using pronouns, use the names of places and people.
  • Take a break from caregiving: It is usual that the caregiver will need to take a break from the duties of caregiving. None can do it by themselves and hence you may check out respite care in order to take good care of yourself.
  • Respond with reassurance: People who suffer from dementia feel anxious, confused and doubtful about themselves. They even confuse reality and can recall events and things which never really occurred. If you see this happening in front of you, you should not tell them that they’re wrong. Instead, stay focused on the feelings that they try to demonstrate to you and respond with physical and verbal expressions of support, comfort and reassurance. There are times when praising the person, hugging him and touching him will make him respond in a better manner.

So, if you’re someone who has been worried about how you could assist someone in your family who is suffering from dementia, you should take into account the above mentioned tips and strategies. Watch out for the symptoms as soon as you can and take him to a mental health professional to get him treated.

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