Many people are unaware that those living with dementia can often receive treatment at home – in fact, staying in familiar surroundings is a huge help. However, living with someone with dementia isn’t always easy.
Here are some of the key challenges facing a household living with dementia:

Allaying agitation
When someone living with dementia becomes agitated it can be scary for other members of the household. The best way to deal with an episode of agitation is to avoid it altogether, something that can be done by making a few changes to your home. Create a calm, quiet environment without stressors, turn off noisy devices whenever possible, and ensure the temperature is comfortable. By creating a ‘safe place’ for your loved one, you’ll hopefully reduce their anxiety and disrupt your family less frequently.
Secondly, get to know your loved one’s cues – the signs that show they’re uncomfortable. Think about what could be causing their distress. Might they be hungry, tired, overstimulated, too hot, or need the bathroom? A simple way to improve your loved one’s mood is through light exercise. Work this into your family’s routine by assigning them simple chores such as gardening, or getting them to play with their grandchildren – ideal for keeping them upbeat, active, and socialised.

Dealing with memory loss
Memory problems are one of the most common indicators of dementia, and can be extremely frustrating for other family members. However, getting angry with your loved one will only cause them to become distressed. Instead, develop coping mechanisms:

  • Establish a regular routine to help them remember what happens throughout the day.
  • Make sure they are not overwhelmed by various tasks at once. For example, if they are making a cup of tea, wait until they have finished before you start a conversation.
  • Set up somewhere they can keep their important belongings, such as a large bowl that is easily visible. This will help them find their things easily without having to come to you every time they lose their glasses

Your loved one has likely been looking after themselves and others for many decades, so relying on you so heavily may be difficult for them. Use your best judgement to strike a balance between safety and coddling. Try assigning them regular, simple tasks that lie within their capabilities, such as hanging out the washing or raking the lawn, and include them in washing or preparing food for dinner. However, be sure not to let them handle any of the family finances, as dementia can often impair judgement and lead to impulsive behaviour.

While their life necessarily has to change, there’s no reason your loved one shouldn’t enjoy a level of independence, and help you out around the house. This will keep them as mentally active as possible while shortening your to-do list.

Being a carer can strain family relationships – but home treatment can be a huge relief for families struggling to manage on their own. At Care Visions our team is familiar with the problems facing families living with dementia. We will assess your needs and discuss the appropriate measures to provide you with the care and support you need. We can help with your loved one’s care, allowing you to focus your time and energy on spending quality time with your loved one.