Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with everyday life. The impact of dementia can be devastating, not just to the person with the diagnosis, but also to their family.
Spotting the early signs and finding the right support options are fundamental in understanding the diagnosis and helping your loved ones live well with dementia.
Spotting the Early Signs
Although signs vary, common symptoms of dementia include:
- Reduced concentration
- Behavioural and personality changes
- Apathy and withdrawal or depression
- Increasing levels of confusion
- Memory problems (particularly remembering recent events)
- Loss of ability to complete everyday tasks
Caring for a Loved One; What to Expect
Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging on both an emotional and practical level, but knowing what steps to take can make a significant difference to daily life.
1. Educate yourself – learn as much as you can about the different aspects of dementia (the various types of dementia, the effects, the statistics, support options and products to assist with day-to-day life). You may have to think about where the person with dementia will live and you will need to have contingency plans in place in case of emergencies or for times when you are unavailable.
2. Prepare yourself to communicate with your loved one in a different way; a person living with dementia will need help to convey what they want to tell you, so it’s important you don’t become frustrated which may cause feelings of stress and anxiety.
3. Call your loved one by name so they remember who they are and use closed-ended questions, for example;
Would you like vanilla ice cream?
Are you feeling happy?
Did you enjoy your journey in the car?
4. Repetition is key – introduce a routine to keep a sense of structure and normality, and include enjoyable activities such as a walk in the park, time in the garden or a trip to the shops. Tell your loved one the plan for each day so they know what to expect.
5. Displays of aggression, hallucinations, wandering or eating and sleeping issues are behaviours that you will need to learn to manage. Encouraging your loved one to do things they enjoy or find useful will help, as will keeping familiar, comforting or personal items close by like a keepsake or favourite jumper.
6. It’s important that you look after yourself too; when caring for another person it becomes easier to stop looking after ourselves:
- Make time to reflect – this will help you with acceptance
- Keep a diary and record as much as you can
- Write a daily gratitude list
- Celebrate all the great times with your loved one
- Try to see things through their eyes
Making Everyday Life Easier
Many people living with dementia will find that daily tasks become more and more challenging without the support of someone else. Below we have listed some of our top products designed to help people live well with dementia, remaining independent for longer:
Rosebud Reminder Clock – developed to prompt people with dementia and Alzheimer’s to do daily tasks, aimed at relieving stress and anxiety that can build when unknown events occur.
One Button Radio – people living with dementia, poor co-ordination or visual impairment can now operate a radio with ease (not a fiddly button in sight!)
The Safer Walking GPS Device – monitor location, have two-way voice calls and set geo fences to help keep your loved ones in their own homes for longer.
Talking Time Pal – a small and simple to operate device – just press the button to announce the time and date in a clear English voice.
Charities and Voluntary Organisations
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, you are not alone. More than 920,000 people in the UK are living with dementia – a number which is expected to rise to over a million by 2024 according to Alzheimer’s Society.
If you need the help of a dementia support service there are many options available, helping you at every step in your journey:
Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline
Phone: 0300 222 1122
Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline
Phone: 0800 888 6678
Carers Direct Helpline
Phone: 0300 123 1053
Age UK Advice Line
Phone: 0800 055 6112
Phone: 0800 319 6789
To discuss our range of products, call us now on 01780 489 100 or complete the form below.