As your parents or relatives start to age, you may need to help to take care of them. While this could just be a case of helping them out with daily tasks, if they suffer from dementia, they may need more help.
It can be hard work looking after a loved one with dementia, especially, when you aren’t prepared for it. Being a carer for someone who is suffering from dementia requires limitless patience, as well as physical and mental strength. Caring for someone with a mental illness can also be incredibly stressful.
To help make looking after your parent or relative a little bit easier, here are my tops tips for caring for them. Hopefully, this advice will help you to make being a dementia carer a little bit easier.
Assess their needs
When it comes to caring for a relative who is suffering from dementia, you need to do is assess their needs. If they are in the early stages of dementia, then they won’t require as much care as someone who is in the later stages.
If you are unsure how much care your parent or relative needs, ask their doctor for advice. Explain that you want to be able to help and look after them, but are unsure of how much care they need.
Research what you can expect the future to hold
You will find it easier taking care of your parent or relative if you know what their future holds. That’s why researching their condition to see what to expect as the disease progresses is important, as it will make it easier to cope with.
For example, many forms of dementia, including Pick’s disease can lead to incontinence. This means that at some point or another, your relative may need adult nappies – this is something that you need to accept.
As the disease takes hold, you may also notice that your relative struggles to swallow, often choking. This is because dementia can cause a condition called dysphagia, which causes problems swallowing.
The main issue with this is that it can be hard to get your relative to eat. However, if you provide them with soft foods, like mashed potato, soups, and smoothies, you can make eating easier for them. You could also consider trying out the Thickit puree diet recipes for dysphagia. These are great for ensuring that your relative gets the nutrients that they need.
Understand that you will need to help them more and more
Even if your relative can do most things for themselves at the moment – cooking, cleaning, washing themselves. It’s important to realize that this won’t last forever. As the disease progresses, they will need more and more help.
While you may be happy to help with household chores, if your relative is male, and you are female, you may not feel comfortable helping them to wash. If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to consider hiring them a private nurse.
Being a career for someone who suffers from dementia isn’t easy, it’s horrible seeing a disease take over your loved one. However, by caring for them, you can help to make their last few years a lot more bearable.