Dementia is an issue that affects more than 400,000 Australians. While the condition can be debilitating, there are some things that can be done to ease the severity of symptoms and care for people with dementia to improve their quality of life.
If you’re caring for someone with dementia or you’re looking for ways to help someone you know, the first step is to learn as much as you can about the condition. Gaining awareness about common dementia symptoms can not only help you understand what sort of dementia aged care you can provide, it can also provide useful information to those living with the condition about how their symptoms may progress and what to expect from their future.
The aim of this article is to draw focus to some key health tips for seniors with dementia to lessen the impact of the condition and improve overall quality of life.
Dementia caregiver tips
Foods to fight dementia
The key to figuring out the right foods to help with dementia is to look into foods that are recommended for excellent brain health in general. Whether a person already has dementia or not, certain foods will give you the best chance of having a healthy mind and life.
Some foods that are highly recommended for overall brain function and can assist with managing dementia include:
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens
- Regular servings of fresh fruit
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Low-fat dairy products
- Olive oil
- Fish oil
Food to avoid
Just as there are certain dietary choices that promote brain health, there are also food groups that can potentially have detrimental effects and should either be consumed in low quantities or avoided altogether. These can include:
- Fast food, such as burgers, chips or fried chicken
- Processed food, including products with high salt and refined sugar
- Large quantities of red meat or fatty meat
- Eggs (as the yolk contains high amounts of cholesterol)
- Tobacco products
- Excessive alcohol
Other ways to support someone living with dementia
- It can be helpful to provide simple home care for dementia, such as keeping a daily routine with things like waking up, eating meals and exercising to reduce frustration and provide some stability
- To avoid confusion, it can also be helpful to limit long naps during the day as someone living with dementia may get mixed up if it is day or night
- Assisting with day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping or household chores. Even simple things like eating and drinking can become more challenging when someone is suffering from symptoms of dementia.
Be patient and flexible
- Remember to be patient and understanding that you may require more time for some activities
- Be flexible with your schedule and involve and engage the person you’re caring for as much as possible
- It can also be helpful to write things down after speaking about them to provide a reference in case the senior is forgetful
- Hazard reduction around the home is important to ensure the safety of someone living with dementia. This can include:
- Ensuring there are handrails installed by the stairs
- Hiding wires or other trip hazards
- Making sure there is good lighting around the home
- Social interaction and a sense of community are excellent tools to maintain a positive mindset and good mental health
- Consider forming a support group with other people suffering from similar symptoms so the person you are caring for can have the opportunity to relate to others
Activities for elderly with Dementia
There are multiple activities for dementia patients in aged care that can prove to be beneficial. Regular exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the possibility of developing dementia and can certainly help relieve the symptoms after onset.
While vigorous exercise may not be possible for some people in their senior years, there are still exercises they can do on a daily or regular basis that will be beneficial for both their physical and mental health.
Provided the person with dementia is still able bodied, going on walks in various locations is not only an excellent option to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, but also provides new scenery and stimulation for the mind.
Any form of exercise is better than no exercise, so once you determine the physical capabilities of an individual with dementia, it can be helpful to put together an exercise plan together with regular, achievable movements.
There are plenty of other activities for elderly with dementia that can prove beneficial, and most of them are more fun to do with company! Consider the person’s abilities and if they may already be tired from other forms of exercise such as a walk or light workout. Some activities you can try to engage someone with dementia physically, mentally and socially include:
- Cooking or baking
- A creative group activity such as painting, a board game or a card game
- Talk and reminisce about their life: this is a great way to connect and engage, as well as challenge memory and stimulate the mind. You can ask them questions to get to know their life better, look through photo albums or old family videos
- Animal therapy, whether having an animal visit or having a pet at home such as a cat, can be a very rewarding experience for people with dementia
- Watch an engaging documentary or read their favourite book with them
- Music therapy, such as listening to their favourite song, encouraging them to play an instrument they used to love, or going to see live music is a wonderful way to trigger powerful memories and emotions which can boost the mood and brain health of the person with dementia
Dementia Support Services With Vital Home Health
For the ultimate in dementia aged care, you may want to consider enlisting the help of professional dementia home care services.
Vital Home Health Services can help you look after a senior with dementia, which includes providing a healthy diet and exercise programs. If you’re currently taking care of someone who has dementia but you are struggling, you don’t have to go it alone. Expert and compassionate help is available.
Get in touch with us today and discover how we can help you and your loved one.