Dementia is not a disease, but a syndrome with a group of symptoms that do not have a definitive diagnosis. These symptoms consist of a broad range of medical conditions, which are caused due to abnormal brain changes. Dementia affects the mental cognitive tasks of an individual, which further triggers a decline in cognitive abilities, reasoning and thinking skills. It occurs due to several conditions, one of which is Alzheimer’s disease. As the symptoms of dementia progress, they lead to various psychological changes within the individuals and affect their feelings, behaviour and relationships. In some cases, it can also have a great impact on the ability of the people to function independently.
Although dementia can be commonly seen in older people after the age of 65, it is also likely to develop earlier in certain cases. Many times, the cognitive and psychological challenges that come along with dementia affect families both emotionally and financially. In the UK, it is estimated that 850,000 people are suffering from dementia. With the constantly ageing population and increased lifespan of people in the UK, dementia has now become a significant health and care issue that needs to be addressed. While the symptoms of dementia cannot be cured completely, it can be managed well with some care and support. Aside from offering personal support, you can also seek help from caregivers who provide round-the-clock elderly support to people with dementia. Here are some of the benefits of providing elderly caregiving to people with dementia
Benefits of elderly caregiving to people with dementia
1. Improved eating and drinking
A well-balanced and healthy diet plays a vital role in developing a healthy lifestyle. As people with dementia might not realise when they are hungry or thirsty, there are chances for them to skip meals or drink less water. This exposes them to the risk of various other conditions, such as headache, constipation and urinary tract infections. Developing any other conditions might further affect their cognitive skills and worsen the symptoms of dementia. In such cases, a caregiver can help people with dementia by providing them with timely food and drinks. Moreover, when a person with dementia refuses or spits out the food, a caregiver can be present to understand the reasons behind their behaviour and calmly provide a solution or a food or drink alternative to make ensure they are well-fed.
2. Help with incontinence
The different conditions, such as urinary tract infection or constipation, which accompany dementia at times result in urinary or bowel incontinence in people with dementia. Sometimes the use of certain medicines can also trigger incontinence. Living with incontinence is not only disturbing for people with dementia but also for the people taking care of them. A professional caregiver can help people with dementia by frequently taking them to the washroom. They can also keep track of the medicines consumed and discuss it with the doctor to provide an alternative for the medicines causing inconsistence.
3. Bathing and washing assistance
As dementia affects the cognitive skills of the elderly, they may develop anxiety to step into the washroom. Thoughts like the water being too deep or fear of falling and noise caused due to the running water can disturb people with dementia. With the help of caregivers, everyday tasks like bathing and washing can be made easier. Professional caregivers can handle such personal tasks sensitively and make it less embarrassing for the elderly. When people with dementia are treated with respect and dignity, they start feeling reassured about the caregiver and can completely rely on them for their day to day activities.
4. Boosts confidence
As people with dementia face issues such as depression, anxiety and forgetfulness, they lose confidence. It also makes it difficult for them to trust others, due to which they become socially inactive. Moreover, staying confined to a room or a house makes these people physically and socially inactive. Being surrounded by caregivers helps people with dementia regain their lost confidence. Showing them constant affection makes it easier for them to trust others. Additionally, stepping out of the home for small walks with caregivers along with timely care for basic needs, such as proper diet and nutrition, reassures people with dementia that they are loved and respected.
5. Get quality sleep
Dementia also affects the sleeping patterns of the people suffering from it and can disrupt the person’s body clock. Issues such as incontinence or frequent need to visit the washroom at night also affect their sleeping cycle. At times they may wake up in the middle of the night and feel panicky. During certain occasions, they might even want someone to stay with them throughout the night. Although these issues can be settled over time, having constant support in the form of a caregiver can help people with dementia in improving their sleep cycle. A caregiver can also help adjust their body clock by encouraging them to take afternoon naps and reducing their caffeine and alcohol intake.