Understanding and Supporting Someone With Dementia
Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be a hugely emotional and challenging time, not only for the individual, but also for their friends and family.
As dementia is so complex, and has many ways it can affect somebody, the more information we know, the better equipped we are to support the ones we love. Gaining an insight into what it is like to live with dementia can help to understand the best methods of caring for someone who is living with the disease.
Has a loved one recently received a dementia diagnosis, or have they been living with it for some time? Our blog contains sensitive information and advice about supporting someone with dementia.
What is Dementia?
Current research shows that more the 850,000 people in the UK live with dementia.
Forgetfulness should not be dismissed as dementia, memory loss is a normal part of ageing, however dementia is the gradual loss of cognitive functionality,
The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Frontal-temporal dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies – thorough testing and diagnosis from hospitals and GPs are able to determine which form someone is living with.
Effects of Dementia
Those caring for someone with dementia will understand that it has many effects. For those who are unaware, most people will experience memory difficulties and problems with thinking, which in turn lead to the loss of:
- Social relationships
- Ability to perform everyday activities
Five Ways of Supporting Someone with Dementia
- Focus on what the person can still do, rather than what they can’t.
- Try and have patience by listening and supporting the person.
- Complete small jobs for the person, such as making the bed or cooking a meal – this might seem like nothing but is one less thing for them to worry about.
- Make time for those caring for someone with dementia – it is a challenging time for carers too.
- Try and understand as much as possible about dementia, as the more you know the easier it is to live with.
Practical Tips When Caring for Someone with Dementia
Although understanding dementia and the effects it can have can help us to understand what the person is going through, there are practical ways in which we can help that person too. Some of the following could help on a day-to-day basis with someone in the early stages of dementia, working together with your loved one to help them feel supported, rather than ‘taking over’ or making them feel silly:
- Keep important things like money, glasses, and keys in the same place.
- Place important numbers by the phone, where they can be seen easily.
- Identify people in photographs around the house as a reminder.
- Use an automatic calendar, which can be help keep track of date and time.
- Help your loved one write reminders about locking doors, turning electric or gas off, and putting the rubbish out.
If you are struggling to know how to support someone with dementia, by helping with some of these it could vastly improve their daily life.
Support for Dementia Carers
Dementia affects not only the person, but also the surrounding friends and family. As the condition gets worse, more pressure and responsibilities fall to those caring for the individual, which can be an enormous pressure.
There is, however, support for dementia carers and it can be critical for both parties well-being that this is utilised. Respite care facilities give full time carers the opportunity to take well-earned rest from the responsibilities of caring for someone with a serious condition such as dementia.
It can also give the person living with dementia a refreshing change of scenery, while family and friends can be safe in the knowledge that their loved one is in a comfortable, secure environment with qualified care professionals providing excellent levels of care.
Further Support with Understanding Dementia
Want to learn more about dementia care services available near you? Learn more about recognizing the early signs of dementia in order to get the correct advice and care required with our helpful blog ‘spotting the early signs of dementia’.
Find care homes near you which offer specialist dementia care services or get in touch today to speak with one of our helpful advisors.