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Health 310 views Aug 15, 2019
Helping dementia patients feel more secure

Dementia patients are prone to confusion and anxiety but by understanding their needs they can be made to feel more safe and secure.

 

Dementia is a blanket term that refers to a life-changing decline in mental ability. Alzheimer’s is the most common form – affecting 60-80% of patients, with Vascular Dementia, often caused by a stroke, the next most common variety.

 

Research by the Live In Care Hub shows that dementia is the most feared illness with 34% saying they fear suffering it in later life. The research, published in the “No Place Like Home” report, also revealed that 52% of people are happier to talk about the condition than they were 10 years ago.

 

The increased awareness and willingness to discuss dementia is good news for dementia sufferers as it encourages those caring for them to learn about their needs and provide a secure, safe and familiar environment.

 

Core Symptoms

To be considered dementia, at least two of the following areas must be affected:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgement
  • Visual perception

 

Many patients become agitated and scared when difficulty remembering impacts on their daily life. For example, forgetting which drawer the spoons are in or walking into the bedroom instead of the bathroom. If their language skills are diminishing, they may have difficulty in making themselves understood and may find it hard to listen to and follow instructions if their attention span dwindles. Another area where those with dementia can struggle is with mobility, even around familiar areas, as problems with visual perception can make rugs look like holes and thresholds look like steps.

 

Familiar Surroundings

Memory is strengthened by repetition so it is important to keep changes to the home environment to a minimum. It can help to label doors, drawers and cupboards with the contents to help the patient locate items with the minimum of fuss. It is for this reason that many dementia patients decline if they need to move to a care home – learning new surroundings and routines simply confuses their damaged brain and they find it hard to adapt. In so many ways they are better being cared for with in-home care or live-in care at home.

 

Careful alterations can support independence

One change that is useful to make is to remove rugs and mats – even ones taped to the floor. As mentioned above, these can be seen as holes or steps and turn into trip hazards, thus increasing the risk of falls. Good lighting helps so ensure that curtains are opened and lights fitted with bright enough bulbs. Carpets are usually a better choice as the noise of walking across a hard floor can be disorientating to sufferers, and should contrast with the walls so the edges are clear.

 

Remembering who’s who

It can be difficult for those with dementia to keep track of new faces. If in home care is required then the same carers should be requested so that the patient recognises them. Labelled photographs, together with times when the carer will be present, can be helpful. If the sufferer has live in carers then placing a photograph of the current carer in a prominent position will help avoid anxiety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tags: #Dementia Care