How to support a loved one after a dementia diagnosis
Being diagnosed with any degenerative disease is a frightening and daunting experience, and dementia is no exception.
However, in today’s society, dementia doesn’t have to ruin anyone’s life. Many patients with the condition are able to live independently and enjoy fulfilling lives for many years after an initial diagnosis.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, then read on to find tips on how you can support them.
Communicate with them
When someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, their life will drastically change, and they may feel lost and scared. It is imperative that you communicate with them and make them aware that you are there to support them through this challenge. Throughout the process of adapting their life around their diagnosis, you need to communicate with them so that you know what they want and need.
Research their condition
Dementia is more than just forgetfulness; it is a complex disease that is unique to every patient. As such, you need to research the symptoms and learn more about it and the treatments available, so that you can talk to your loved one and offer them informed advice. You can also help them to learn about the condition so that you both understand what’s going on and how it will affect their life.
Ensuring correct medication
Many dementia patients take a range of pills, both for the disease and for other conditions. Dementia can make it harder for patients to remember to take their medication, but this is vital if they’re going to live an independent and fulfilling life. Consider getting them an automatic pill dispenser to ensure that they’re always notified when they need to take their medication.
Research natural ways to support dementia
Did you know that you can reduce and even reverse the symptoms of dementia through lifestyle changes such as physical exercise, mental exercise, diet and sleep?
In fact, there are steps most of us should be taken NOW to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimers!
Find what support is available locally
In most local authorities across the country, support for people with dementia is a high priority and many have formed a Local Dementia Action Alliance (LDAA). LDAAs work with a number of other organisations in their respective areas including social care providers, businesses, doctors, community groups and many more, with the aim of creating Dementia Friendly Communities. Click here to find LDAA near you.
Guide them through the changes that they need to make
A dementia diagnosis means that most patients need to adjust their lifestyles. They certainly need to consider the general lifestyle changes we have already mentioned, but there may be some bigger changes they need to make.
For example, they might need to consider an alternative living situation or giving up an adored hobby which might now be unsafe for them to participate in. These colossal changes can be frightening and overwhelming, so try to be there for them every step of the way and support them as best you can. By being there with them and helping them to get through each adjustment, you’ll be able to make the process of adapting to life with dementia a little easier and less intimidating.
Adapt their home
If your loved one is eager to continue living in their home, then you need to help them to adapt it to make sure that it is safe. There are various ways to adapt a home for someone with dementia, including providing large clock faces, adding mobility aides and more. Help them to find the products and technology that works for them, so that they can live independently and safely in their own home for as long as possible.
Always treat them with respect
Dementia doesn’t automatically transform someone from a beloved relative into anything scary, so it’s crucial that you try not to treat them differently after their diagnosis. Their opinions are still valid, even if you don’t agree with them. If they want to do something that you believe will endanger their safety, then it’s vital that you reason with them and talk to them respectfully to show them why you are concerned and come to a compromise that benefits everyone.
Overall, everyone is different, and as such, you need to be supportive and work closely with your loved one to find out about what they need and how you can help them to live with their dementia. This article should help you to find inspiration so that you can be a loving and valuable friend during this tough time.