Dementia guide:

Providing dementia care to a loved one can be difficult and stressful. But it can be gratifying & rewarding with the correct assistance.

The support you need as a caregiver:
Especially if the individual with dementia is a partner, parent, or good friend, you may well not consider yourself a carer.

However, both you and the person with dementia will require assistance to cope with the symptoms and behaviour changes.

It is a smart idea to:

– Ensure that your GP has you listed as a caregiver.

– Ask for carer assessment.

– Discover if you qualify for carer benefits.

– Learn about courses that might be of use to you.

On the website of the Alzheimer’s Society, you may learn about local support services.

Get a carer’s assessment

You can get evaluated if you are caring for someone to find out what might make your life easier. It’s known as a carer’s assessment.

A carer assessment might suggest the following:

– Someone to take over nurturing so you can take a break.
– Learning in safe lifting techniques
– Assistance with shopping and housekeeping.
– Connecting you with community support organisations so you have people to talk to.

Any adult over the age of 18 may get a free carer assessment.

Learn more about caregiving assessments and how to apply for one.

Assisting someone with mundane activities

Many people with early-stage dementia are still able to participate fully in daily activities.

However, if symptoms worsen, the person may experience fear, stress, and anxiety due to their inability to focus, remember details, or follow discussions.

Supporting the individual in maintaining skills, capacities, and a vibrant social life is crucial. Additionally, it may improve how they feel about themselves.

How you can assist

Let the person help with everyday tasks, such as:
– Shopping
– Preparing the meal
– Setting up the table

– Walking the dog for to outside

A person can employ memory aids throughout the house to help them recall where items are.

You could, for instance, attach labels and signage to the doors, drawers, and cabinets.

Learn more about creating a dementia-friendly environment in your home.

You’ll probably find that you need to adjust how you speak and listen to the person you care for because dementia affects how a person communicates.

Learn more about how to interact with a person who has dementia.


Assistance with drinking and eating

Everybody’s healthy lifestyle should include eating a nutritious, balanced diet.

Because they are unaware of their thirst, people with dementia may not drink enough.

They run the risk of:
Headaches, Constipation, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

These can exacerbate dementia symptoms by increasing confusion.

Typical issues with food include:

– Unable to identify foods
– Forgetting their favourite foods and beverages
– Spitting out or refusing to eat
– Requesting unusual food pairings

These behaviours might occur for a variety of causes, including disorientation, mouth pain brought on by sensitive gums or poorly fitting dentures, or difficulties swallowing (dysphagia).


How you can assist

If possible, let the person help with dinner preparation.

To make mealtimes less stressful, try these suggestions:

Allot sufficient time for meals

Offer them stuff you know they’ll enjoy in smaller portions and be ready for changes in their dietary preferences. Try sweeter or bolder flavours.

If the person has trouble using silverware, give them finger food.

Offer liquids in an accessible, clear glass or colored cup.


Make sure the person you are caring for receives frequent dental exams to help alleviate any oral pain or discomfort causes.

Learn more about consuming food and liquids from the Alzheimer’s Society.


Assistance with using the restroom and incontinence

Going to the bathroom can be a frequent concern for people with dementia.

Both bowel and urine incontinence can be challenging to manage. For both you and the person you care about, it can be extremely upsetting.

Issues may result from:

– Infections of the urinary tract (UTIs)
– Constipation, which may put more strain on the bladder
– A few medications

Dementia patients can forget they need to use the restroom or where it is.


How you can help

It’s crucial to be understanding about toilet issues, even though it could be difficult. If appropriate, try to maintain your sense of humor and keep in mind that the other person is not to blame.

You might also wish to try the following advice:

-Put a sign on the bathroom door that includes both words and images.
-Keep the bathroom door open at night and keep a light on, or think about sensor lights
-Check for indications that the person may need to go to the restroom, such as fidgeting or changing their posture.
-Keep the individual moving; a daily stroll will aid in regular bowel motions.
-Try to incorporate using the restroom into your everyday routine.

Ask your doctor to send you to a continence expert if you’re still having issues with incontinence so they may offer advice on things like waterproof bedding or incontinence pads.

Learn more about toilet issues from the Alzheimer’s Society.


Assistance with bathing and cleaning

Some dementia sufferers may grow nervous about maintaining personal hygiene and may need assistance with washing.

Their concerns could be:

-The depth of the bathwater
-Water from an above shower rushing in a loud manner
-Changing in front of another person, even their partner


How you can assist

Try to be considerate and show respect for the person’s dignity because washing is a private, personal activity.

Try the following advice:

Find out the person’s preferred method of assistance.

Assure them that you won’t let them damage themselves. Use a handheld shower or a bath seat. Use the shampoo, shower gel, or soap they prefer. Be ready to stay with them if they don’t want you to leave them alone.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Society for more details about washing and taking a shower.


Issues with sleep

Sleep patterns and a person’s “body clock” can both be impacted by dementia.

People who have dementia may wake up frequently at night and get confused when they do. They might try to dress since they don’t realize it’s nighttime.

How you can assist

It’s possible that sleep disturbances are a stage of dementia that will pass with time.

Try these suggestions in the interim:
-Put a dementia-friendly clock by the bed that indicates the time of day or night.

-Make sure the person gets enough sunlight and exercise throughout the day.

-Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.

-Make sure the bedroom is cosy and has either a night light or blackout curtains.

-Try to avoid taking naps during the day

If sleep problems continue, speak to your GP or community nurse for advice.

Looking after yourself

It can be taxing and frustrating to care for a partner, relative, or close friend who has dementia.

Keep in mind that your needs as a carer are just as important as those of the person you are caring for.

Ask for help

In addition to providing you with a break, even if it’s only for an hour, family and friends can assist by taking the dementia patient to an activity or memory café.