Ten Tips to Thrive After Dementia
If you’ve spent any time around someone with dementia, you know that it can be a tough and heartbreaking condition. Dementia is one of the most common causes of cognitive decline in older adults and is most prevalent among those aged 65 and older. While there is no known cure for dementia, there are things you can do to thrive after living with this condition. It is important to keep your sense of identity after becoming a caregiver. Having hobbies, interests, and friends outside of your family is critical. It’s often hard for family members to understand why their loved one would want to hang out with someone who hasn’t always been friendly toward them. But if you have someone who supports your desire to stay active even when they aren’t available or willing to join you, then it can be very rewarding. Keep reading below for some helpful tips on thriving after living with dementia.
Keep up your daily habits
Dementia can negatively affect your loved one’s ability to perform certain daily tasks. Keeping up your own hygiene, dressing, walking around the house, and eating can be challenging. However, it is important to remember that your loved one can’t think about these things at the same time. Therefore, it is okay to forget to brush your teeth or eat breakfast, but try to make sure you get these things done every day. Similarly, you can help your loved one stay hydrated by providing them with a cup in the morning and at other times throughout the day.
Exercise is good for you
Exercise has a huge positive impact on people with cognitive impairment. It helps to improve your cognitive health, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Regular exercise can also help your loved one to feel more engaged socially. If you live with a person with dementia, it can be helpful to try to maintain the same daily routine each day. This might include getting up at the same time and going to work at the same time each day. Exercise can be a great way to stay organized and get your daily exercise in.
Eat healthily. Even if it’s just eggs.
It can be tempting to change your loved one’s diet to what you think is better for them. You may sit down with your loved one and try to convince them to eat an apple instead of some eggs or toast. Healthy eating is important for a person with dementia. It can improve their digestion, help to manage their diabetes, and increase their energy levels. In addition, a healthy diet can help to protect against heart disease and diabetes. It is important to be mindful of your loved one’s dietary preferences and limitations. For example, a person with dementia may be very allergic to peanuts, but not have any symptoms while eating them. Therefore, they may not be aware that they are a danger to themselves and others.
Take breaks. You need them.
When you’re caring for someone with dementia, it is important to take breaks. No matter how much you love your loved one and want to help them, you need to take breaks from caring for them. If you don’t, you will burn out or have an emotional breakdown. A person with dementia may have fractured memories or lose their sense of direction. Therefore, you will have to continuously try to help them navigate their way through their day. Taking short breaks can help you to keep your cool and avoid over-tiredness. You may also want to try using a timer to remind you to take breaks.
Communicate with your loved one. Talking is important.
Many people with dementia experience loneliness and isolation as a result of their condition. Talking to your loved one can help them to feel connected to the world again, even if they don’t remember the conversation. Talking to your loved one daily can help them to feel less lonely while also making you feel less guilty for being away from them. You may want to try using a picture-based communication method to help your loved one to talk and understand better. Picture-based communication (PBC) is a way to communicate with someone who has memory loss or who has a language disability. PBC is an alternative to written or spoken language. It uses pictures to communicate instead of words or phrases. You and your loved one can use PBC to communicate when you can’t be in the same room together. You can also use PBC when your loved one needs to talk to you but can’t remember what they want to say.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy life too
One of the hardest challenges as a caregiver is learning to relax. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s true. You need to take care of yourself too if you are going to be able to take care of your loved one. Make sure that you are eating the right foods, getting enough rest, and taking time for yourself. If you don’t have time for these things, then you won’t have any energy left to take care of your loved one. You may find it helpful to have a journal dedicated to relaxing and journaling. Find ways to relax other than watching television or lying in bed, staring at the ceiling all day. For example, try taking a warm bath, doing yoga, reading a book, playing a game, meditating, going for a walk, doing DIY, etc.
Take advantage of technology and online resources
Technology can be a great help to people living with dementia. It can allow your loved one to stay connected to their friends and family, as well as provide them with structure and daily activities. It can also help them to maintain their health and stay active. There are many different apps and programs that can be useful in your daily life with a person with dementia. For example, a person living with dementia may benefit from a daily schedule to help them to stay on track with their health and daily tasks. A person living with dementia may find it helpful to have a virtual assistant who can remind them of things, manage their daily tasks, help with their finances, and answer their questions.
Dementia is a progressive and often fatal brain disease that affects memory and thinking. It’s common for people over 65 and can affect anyone, regardless of their health or socio-economic status. If you or someone you love is living with this condition, it’s important that you make healthy lifestyle changes to help improve your quality of life. These tips will help you thrive after living with dementia. Try them out and see how they can benefit you and your family. They can also be helpful to other caregivers.