A dementia diagnosis can have a sinking effect on the patient, immediate family members, and caregivers. Since dementia mostly affects memory and judgment, it becomes specifically tricky for family members to deal with the ill member. It can take a toll on the family members, and often arguments arise which do not make the condition any better.
You can deal with the diagnosis of a family member in the following ways:
- Educate Yourself
It is essential for a family going through a Dementia diagnosis to educate themselves on all kinds of Dementias. Doing so makes it easier for them to understand their affected members and learn ways to help manage and care for the person.
There are support groups and community services, and websites available to get helpful information on dementia.
Educating yourself also helps to learn the dos and don’ts of caring for the member with dementia. Additionally, one learns to control their emotions as caring for a Dementia patient can get frustrating.
- Create a Routine
As a family, come up with a to-do list involving activities that the person with dementia can participate in and those they like. Getting the person involved creates a sense of usefulness, and he/she will still feel valued and needed. It also keeps the person’s mind active.
For example, one of the activities can include looking at family photos or recorded videos from the past, which can help the person jog up his memory. It also reduces feelings of loneliness and worthlessness on the part of the patient and other family members who no longer know what to do after being diagnosed with dementia.
- Be Patient
Adjusting to any illness, let alone dementia is an ongoing process for the patient and the family members. Each person reacts differently, and members need to be patient with one another as they are all adjusting.
A healthy adjusting process is also suitable for the diagnosed member as it will help them not feel like a burden. Patience in the above case means that family members need to stay as a team in the whole process and avoid lashing at each other.
If the affected member is a parent, he/she might forget a child’s birthday since the memory is affected; instead of being angry with them, be patient and remind them politely of which day that is.
- Include the Person with Dementia in Conversations
It is essential to involve the person in conversations even though his communication and judgment skills decline. By involving them, it makes them feel as being part of the family regardless of their condition. Family members can involve them in conversations by asking for their opinions, and they need to show acceptance even when in disagreements. Show them that their participation was highly appreciated. Also, talking to them in person can help as they can still engage in meaningful conversations.
- Take Care of Yourself as the Caregiver
Taking care of a person with dementia can be frustrating and draining for the caregiver. In addition, the amount of care needed by the person with dementia can result in physical and emotional problems for the caregiver.
Caregivers should be aware of this and take care of themselves. They can do so by making healthy food choices, engaging in physical exercises, and finding time to enjoy activities they like. As a caregiver, you may have to consider home care agencies for your loved one. This does not mean that you are bad at it. It is just a way of making sure they receive the best care available.
- Explore Treatment Options
There is no recognized cure for dementia, but there are available medications for some symptoms which can help some people. As a family, talk you’re your doctor to help analyze some risks and benefits of some of the medications. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s society will have new treatments that are available through drug trials. If your diagnosed member wishes to be part of it, offer your help and support as a family.
- Develop a Future Plan
Plans will involve decisions about work, financial decisions, and health care decisions. As a family, help the person make the above decisions when they can still be involved in the decision-making process. Ensure you communicate the decisions to members of the family who are not around during decision making.
Dementia can take a toll on a family and the patient, but it becomes easier to deal with a patient suffering from dementia by following the above guidelines. Described tips above ensure that both the family members who serve as caregivers and the patient are well cared for.