Caring for Dementia Patients
Treatment and caring for dementia patients is usually the first consideration the family of the patient must begin to plan for after the diagnosis is made. While the shock and distress of having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer disease can be overwhelming, finding the right treatment options, support, and care can help alleviate the stress for both the patient and the family. Knowing about the disease through research, talking with health care providers and establishing where the patient should live (either at home or in a care facility) are positive steps to restore hope in what may seem like a bleak situation.
Caring for Dementia Patients at Home:
While many would want to choose to keep their loved ones at home, deciding if it is really the best option for the patient is a harder decision. Dementia sufferers may require round-the-clock care depending on how far the disease has progressed and if the person is a danger to themselves. Routine tasks, such as making lunch or bathing, will likely require assistance. Because the dementia patient may often be forgetful, it can be taxing on a single person to make sure that the person eats sleeps, has mental stimulation and physical exercise, keeps up personal hygiene and is safe.
If you do have a family that is able to support one another by planning a care schedule, home care could be an option. The dementia patient may feel more comfortable in their home surroundings, even if they may not always realize they are at home or with loved ones. Establishing a routine is very important if the patient is cared for at home; assess what chores and activities can still be participated in at a safe level. Fun activities such as walks, movies or games should also be planned with family.
Caring for Dementia Patients in Assisted Living Homes:
Assisted living facilities or nursing homes may be a better option in caring for patients that require 24 hour monitoring and assistance, or who have health issues that need frequent medical attention. Before deciding on the right facility or home, talk with staff and staff doctors to make sure they have experience in caring for a dementia patient, and ask questions about routines, activities and visitation hours.
Friendliness of the staff, a clean environment, group and solitary activities, and open visitation hours will not only help the patient, but you as well. It is important not to feel guilty if your family cannot provide care at home for your loved one; the option is not always the best for the loved one or you. Caring for dementia patients requires considerable time, energy and knowledge which an assisted living care facility can provide at a professional level.
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