Memory Care: Supportive Care
— November 17th, 2019
Understanding dementia will help manage behaviour, learn coping strategies and resilience. Short term memory is first affected in stage 1. As disease progresses in stage 2, the person is unable to recall things happened in a year, 2 or 5 years back. Though individual progression varies, changes in behaviours, judgement, cognition and personality are more noticeable challenges.
On this stage, the person relies on long term memory where something that has been part of routine and a habit such as bathing routinely in the morning. The person may remember that every morning, he/she bath this morning where in fact did not and not able to remember.
It is also observed the change in behaviours such as wandering, restlessness, fear, anger and increasing anxiety. Other behaviors such as repetitive questions and short attention span are common and that require reorientation and redirection. It maybe due to more memory gaps which can be frustrating, person develops over reaction in response to the changes. Without realizing that they are forgetting, this start of blaming others and being demanding for answers. These symptoms affect self esteem and start losing sense of control that may cause depression and anger.
At this stage, the most important for the person affected is support to help maintain the sense of integrity and sense of personal self. For caregivers, it is also an overwhelming and can be life changing situation to care for a loved one affected. Learning proper ways of communication will help a major way as the disease progresses. Observing your own body language, tone and gestures will assist in communication. Communication techniques such as validation, ask simple questions and giving one direction at a time are supportive approaches in caring for your loved one. Instead of using “do you remember?” question, use the phrase “I remember…”. Reminiscing is enjoyable for the your loved one as he/she listen to an old story but for hi/her is new story.
Ensuring safety is priority at this time. Determine activities that became complicated and is risk of injury such as driving and cooking. Provide simple activities, environment and expectations are encouraged. This is to maintain and promote active life and continue doing simple tasks that he/she used to do such as go for guided long walks and folding laundry.
It is not an easy journey for you and your loved one affected with dementia. Caring requires patience, learning new skills that brings your own creativity, learning in depth understanding of the behaviour and finding meaning. As part of the journey, it is important to care for yourself along the way. Give yourself a break, time for yourself and vent for your support.
For support and services, Geri Health Home Care is your dementia resource for home care. A trusted team of health care professionals and support staffs with caring, compassionate and always stand by your side. Contact us today, 416-431-6266.
Reference: Carnarius, M., 2015. A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Practical Tools with Spiritual Insights, pages 63-69.