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How to Help a Loved One with Dementia Stay Healthy 


This news story was published on January 13, 2021.
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Living with dementia is an unpredictable way of life, and when you have to watch a loved one succumb to it over time, it can be distressing. However, there are some steps you can take to support them, improve their quality of life, and help them stay as healthy as possible. Remember, it is important to keep a close eye on your loved one’s condition, as dementia is progressive, and their needs and challenges will continue to change. This guide outlines how you can help your loved one be as healthy as possible when suffering from dementia. 

Ensure they take their medicine

They will be prescribed medicines which they will need to take at specific times of the day or week. Remembering which medicine to take and when can be a problem for people with dementia, so make their medication routine as easy as possible. You can set reminders for them or fill an automated medicine dispenser. Make a note of when their prescriptions will run out so you can refill them in good time.

Provide emotional support

Living with dementia is stressful and frightening, and losing the capacity to live as you used to can lead to feelings of embarrassment or powerlessness. You can provide emotional support by spending time with them, listening to their worries, validating their emotions and fears, and reminding them of all the things they can still do for themselves. Encourage them to focus on the present and reassure them that you and others will be there for what may come in the future. 

Consider psychological therapies 

In addition to medication, there are several therapies which can be helpful for people with dementia. These include talking therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and cognitive stimulation (mental exercise). For example, encourage them to participate in social and mental activities that focus on thinking, memory, and concentration. You can also prompt them to reminisce and recall memories from their past as this has proven to be effective in slowing the progression of the disease. To access 24/7 care, support, and psychological therapies, an older adult with dementia might consider moving into a Lake Zurich senior living facility.

Promote a healthy and balanced diet

If a person with dementia does not maintain a healthy and balanced diet with adequate hydration, they are likely to make their condition worse. Fatigue, weight loss, a weakened immune system, digestive issues, headaches, and worsening confusion. People with dementia might not realize that they are hungry or thirsty, and in the later stages of the condition they may not be able to communicate it. Offer nourishing food (avoiding foods which are not helpful for brain health) and drink regularly and ensure that you provide any practical support they may need as they might find it difficult to use cutlery or to chew and swallow. 

Encourage physical activity

Physical exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and being physically fit can help people living with dementia to stay mobile and independent for longer and prevent them from developing other health conditions. 

Help them to manage other health conditions

Old age brings a range of other health issues including heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, weakened joints and bones, deteriorating eyesight, hearing, and more dental complications, and when the person is also living with dementia, these issues may become more difficult to manage. It is essential that your loved one attends all their regular check-ups and that you keep a close eye on their overall health to pick up on changes in their health as early as possible. 

 

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