How To Cope When Dementia Hits Close to Home

How To Cope When Dementia Hits Close to Home

If you have a family member that’s been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, the news has probably been upsetting and confusing. Even if you suspected something was wrong, getting the official news can be traumatic. However, many people with dementia continue to live very full lives, but it will be up to you to know how to deal with the inevitable changes. Whether you’re a caretaker or a concerned friend, here are several ways to cope when dementia hits close to home.

Learn All You Can

In the battle against dementia, arming yourself with knowledge is your best defense. Research all you can on the specific diagnosis and its symptoms. It’s also extremely helpful to seek an Alzheimer’s or dementia support group. These meetings can provide a much-needed respite and a positive atmosphere to share information and tips with others who are going through the same thing.

Know When To Ask for Help

There are many times when you may not be able to solve a problem on your own, so it’s imperative to know when to ask for help. For example, if a loved one is feeling the effects of sundowners syndrome as evening approaches, they can become restless or anxious. They may even express themselves through angry outbursts. It’s important to get assistance if you feel this person could harm themselves or you.

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Be Patient With Memory Loss

One of the most prominent symptoms of dementia is memory loss. Accepting that a loved one can’t recall things like before can be hurtful, but remember, it’s a side effect of the disease rather than simple forgetfulness. The key is to be as patient as you can and gently help them to remember. A daily routine can also help greatly with remembering one thing to the next, especially when the activities are familiar and well-liked by the person with dementia.

Accept Personality Changes

Sometimes a person with dementia will exhibit personality changes that go beyond them simply not acting like themselves. For example, a person that was always serious may suddenly develop a wonderful sense of humor. Another may completely lack any kind of concern for your well-being which is totally unlike them. This is due to changes in the brain. Remember that this is still the same person, they just can’t express themselves like they once did.

Take It in Stride

If you’ve ever known anyone with dementia, you know that sometimes they can say some off-the-wall things. Being prepared for these scenarios can help avoid awkwardness or embarrassment. Play along with the conversation if you can. Again, this is the disease talking so you must not take it personally. If you can find the humor in an otherwise heartbreaking situation, it can work wonders to diffuse a stressful moment.

Decide to React Well

A family member or friend with dementia isn’t an easy situation to cope with, but becoming informed and prepared are your best allies. While there will be difficult moments, there will also be many good ones. How you decide to react to them will make all the difference in the world.

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