Can living well with dementia truly be accomplished? I know it can!! A dementia diagnosis doesn’t mean at all that life has to grind to halt overnight. In fact, there are plenty of things one can do to continue to enjoy living later life and live as independently as possible.
I completely understand that every individual experience and cope up with dementia challenges in their own way, but here I have covered some tips that have helped others.
Dementia can influence every aspect of an individual’s life, including relationships with friends and family.
If you have been diagnosed with dementia, it’s imperative to know that you’re still you, although you’re going through memory, concentration, and planning problems.
And most importantly, you shouldn’t put an end to things you enjoy doing in your life. Instead, you should try to stay as independent as possible and continue enjoying your usual activities.
The symptoms and signs of dementia will generally get worse gradually. How fast this happens will depend on your general well-being and on the type of dementia you have.
It is natural to worry about the future, but you’re not alone. The important thing to know is that with the right assistance and support when you need it, living well with dementia for many next years to come is quite possible.
Self-Care on Many Levels
I believe that leading a healthy lifestyle should be a top priority for everyone, which includes people with dementia as well. The good news is that the Alzheimer’s Association provides several suggestions on how to cope up with the condition, based on the shared insight of patients and existing research.
Their recommendations focus on individuals in the early phases of Alzheimer’s condition, but are applicable to other types of dementia too, particularly mixed dementia and vascular dementia. These suggestions are all about making some changes in your lifestyle.
Taking care of your physical health: there’s no denying that exercising and eating well is imperative for everyone these days. But, before you start an exercise routine, I highly recommended you to first consult with your doctor to ensure.
Make changes in your eating habits – consume a healthy diet. In addition to exercising and eating well, I personally believe that taking part in mentally stimulating activities like hobbies could benefit a lot.
Taking care of your spiritual health – Some individuals incline to religion, others to natural beauty, some love solitary moments and mind-calming activities such as yoga & meditation, others love to connect with their loved ones.
Taking care of your emotional & psychological health: Give yourself a chance to experience a different kind of emotions and sensations without labeling any bad or good.
Take part in a support group, maintain healthy relationships with ones you can open your heart, connect with people with a similar condition (it could be online or in-person as you want). As we’re now going through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s better to connect online, or in fact, it’s the only option you have at the present.
Tips to Manage Stress Due to Dementia: When it comes to living well with dementia, managing the stress that comes with the condition can also make it easier to focus and can help you lead a better life.
Figure out the causes of your stress and try to avoid those situations or triggers.Connect with someone who can allow you to express your emotions without any hesitation.
Avoid situations that make you stressed.
If a job seems very challenging, then you should take a break or a long breath to calm your mind.
Engage yourself with calm-minding or relaxing activities such as listen to music; keep a journal to write about what you love, etc. Build a daily schedule to minimize the stress that could come with planning.
Tell People About Your Dementia
It’s best to let others know about your condition, but of course, you should tell when you’re truly ready for that. It’s also great to let others know what may you have hassle with, for instance, remembering what was told or following a communication.
In this way, some people may start you treating differently. This may be because they don’t know what dementia is or would like to help but don’t know-how. At your end, try to demonstrate what your condition means and how they can support you.
Especially, if you’re working, then let your employer about your condition could benefit a lot. If you let your employer know about your dementia diagnosis, then they can help you continue working in a better way.
They have a legal responsibility to take some measures to assist you to continue working. This could incorporate some changes in your work schedule, simplifying your work routine, or leveraging technology like a computerized diary for reminding you of important meetings and deadlines.
How to Cope Up with Sleep Problems in Dementia
If you’re one with dementia, then you may also experience disturbed sleep. This could be wake up during the mid of the night or be very restless.
Unfortunately, these sleep problems may become worse as the condition progresses. Some medications can result in sleepiness during the daytime and affect sleep at night. Of course, sleeping pills can be taken.
But, I personally believe that you are better off with sleep hygiene practices.
Avoid taking naps during the daytime
Keep regular bedtimes
Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.
How to Cope Up with Mood Swings in Dementia?
You can also experience mood swings. You can feel angry or sad at times, or frustrated and scared as the condition progresses. You may find it challenging to stay positive.
Keep in mind that you’re not alone and support and assistance are available whenever you need it. Talk to others about your worries and feelings. This could be a friend or family member, or someone of your local dementia support community or your GP.
Keep Yourself Active and Busy
As I told earlier, you should keep continuing to enjoy the things you love. Your interests and hobbies can keep you stimulated and active.
Listen to the radio as it can be easier because the brain only needs to focus on the sound. Moreover, music has the ability to bring back memories and it can be enjoyable and reassuring.
Do crosswords or if enjoy them. There is no need to worry if you take you too much time to complete them.
If you love to read, then read newspapers, magazine articles, or short stories.
Here, all I want to say that you should continue enjoying your spare time to the fullest.
Suggestions for Caregivers of People with Dementia
Well, I think that no one can deny that caring for a person with dementia poses several challenges for caregivers.
People with dementia have a progressive biological brain disorder, making it more and more challenging for them to think clearly, remember thinks, communicate with others, and most importantly, self-care.
So, take the complex nature of progressive brain diseases into the account, caregiving can be both emotionally and physically challenging.
Moreover, when the condition progresses, it affects an individual’s ability for expressing themselves, and therefore, you may have to come up with new ways to comprehend and communicate with them. To help you make your job easy as a caregiver, you can follow the below tips that I personally believe could help you communicate better with a person who has dementia.
If what the patient is saying doesn’t seem to make any sense, then try to find out the meaning behind the words.
You should speak clearly and slowly – try to use short sentences and simple language.
Try to keep things as simple as possible – ask questions that only require a Yes or No answer. So, here how much creative you can go all that matters.
Avoid testing the patient’s memory by asking them about the tasks they did earlier. Avoid the arguments even if you think that they’re mistaken. Try to listen to what they’re saying instead of correcting them. This would really make the patient feel acknowledged.
Give the patient time as much as they require to reply to a question. Suggest words if the patient seems challenging to find the answer.
Create a memory book to help the patient with dementia remember memorable times. This could be a collection of pictures that remind happy moments or events such as holidays, weddings, etc.
Moreover, memory books can even assist social and health care experts appreciate patient’s likes and comprehend their past experiences.
Maintain a sense of humor and figure out things that you and a person with dementia can both enjoy and laugh about.
The Final Verdict
So, what do you think now? Whether living well with dementia can be achieved or not? Feel free to share your opinion and tips as well (if you want to share) in the below comment section!! Take care