AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Dementia is a progressive condition that negatively affects the workings of a person’s brain. Specifically, dementia affects a person’s ability to reason, recall and think. When you are looking after an elderly relative who has dementia, you may therefore find it extremely distressing and upsetting. It can also be extremely challenging and stressful, so it is therefore really important to ensure you not only care for them as well as possible but also ensure you, as the carer, are looking after yourself too.

When caring for your loved one suffering from dementia, it is crucial you try to look after their physical state in addition to their mental state. If a person’s physical state is as healthy as possible, it will help their mind stay healthier for longer.


1. Taking care of their outward appearance
Someone suffering from dementia may start to unknowingly neglect their personal appearance. Therefore it is important you are prepared to help them with dressing. When you are dressing them, it is important to make sure you stick with their normal dress sense and what is in their wardrobe. A person’s style can be a very personal thing and so keeping to it will help your relative retain their own identity.

2. Taking care of their hygiene
Hygiene is obviously one of the most private things for a person and unfortunately many people with dementia lose the ability to be able to take proper care of themselves, especially when it comes to washing and going to the toilet. As their carer, you have to be willing to go to any lengths to help them keep clean and avoid embarrassing accidents they cannot help.
It is extremely important to ensure you are always respectful and sensitive when dealing with hygienic matters and respect their dignity at all times. Remember everyone gets old and it could be you in this position in 20-30 years’ time.

3. Ensuring they eat and exercise properly
A huge part of taking care of someone with dementia is making sure they eat properly and do enough exercise. Eating too much unhealthy food and not exercising can lead to other health issues and this will only make life more difficult for both them and you. Try to ensure you stick to a healthy eating plan and take your relative out for walks in the fresh air. Doing so will keep their body and mind healthier.

4. Understand the condition
Often people don’t learn about a condition until they are faced with it and the same is true of dementia. When you are first faced with the condition it can therefore be extremely confusing and challenging because it is upsetting and difficult to deal with a loved one in this state. This is why it is so important to learn as much as you can about the condition.

There are many seminars and help groups you can attend, which will not only provide you with information but also support from others who are going through the same as you. Once you have a better understanding of what dementia is and how it can affect your relative’s behaviour, you will be able to cope a lot better. For instance, your relative may exhibit the following:
– Unusual behaviour, such as constant repetition, lack of inhibitions, screaming and shouting.
– Restlessness, such as constantly moving or walking around.
– Hallucinations, such as seeing people and things that don’t really exist.
– Aggressiveness, such as hitting you or others or saying cruel things.

5. Looking after yourself
One of the most important things to remember, when you are looking after your relative with dementia, is to take good care of yourself too. So many people start to neglect their own needs when caring for someone else but this is a dire mistake. Caring for someone else is a very demanding and stressful role and can lead to health problems of your own if you do not look after yourself properly.

Things like exercise and eating healthily are just simple ways you can ensure your mind and body stay in good shape; however, you also need to think about giving yourself a break every now and again. There is a lot of support available for carers of people with dementia, so do not be afraid to go and seek it out. Talk to your local GP or do some online research to see if you can attend any local support groups.

You should also keep in mind you have other options available to you if caring for your relative becomes too much. There is no shame in not being able to cope, after all you are not a professional carer and whilst caring for someone you love is extremely rewarding, it can also be extremely upsetting and painful. There are professionals who can give you care support at home and you also have care home options available to you too. If you find you do need help, consider a home care agency in London.
Always be sure to consider all your options, after all, you need to make sure your relative is being cared for properly and if that means getting some extra help, so be it.

About the author: Laura blogs for the Extra Mile Home Care Company. When not writing, she can often be found giving dementia tests to seniors at her local eldercare center.


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