Caring for a dementia patient at home poses many challenges for families and caregivers. People with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s and related diseases have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, or take care of themselves. There are many things you can do as part of early intervention to slow the progress of dementia.
Here are some activities that you can engage them in that would help to provide mental stimulation, improve their memory and also have fun!
Playing Bingo - Provides mental stimulation that is highly therapeutic for people with cognitive disorders.
Tending a small garden - Helps to invigorate their senses and encourages them to spend time outdoors.
Reading short picture books - Stimulates their cognitive abilities. Some recommendations include Bradley Trevor Greive’s The Blue Day Book and Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic and The Giving Tree.
Light physical exercises - Walking or swimming may improve memory and slow down mental decline.
Piece jigsaw puzzles (Preferably 8 to 24 pieces) - Improves memory and brain function.
Colouring books for seniors with dementia that has adult themes - Helps to improve memory.
Use of aromatherapy - Benefits patients with dementia in many varied ways. (E.g. Lavender is an antidepressant, peppermint rectifies absent-mindedness, rosemary oil improves cognitive performance in both speed and accuracy measures.)
Diet goes a long way to improving the overall health of your loved ones and it is important to make sure that they are receiving adequate nutrients in their daily intakes. Here are some foods you can include in their meals to mitigate the effects of dementia.
Leafy green vegetables - High in folate and B9, which improve cognition and reduce depression.
Salmon and other cold-water fish - Contains omega 3 fats that help reduce brain inflammation, and promote new brain cell formation.
Berries and dark-skinned fruits - Rich anthocyanin that protects the brain from further damage caused by free radicals. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants and lots of vitamin C and E.
Coffee and chocolate - Helps to ward off age-related memory impairment.
Extra virgin olive oil - Contains oleocanthal that helps to break down amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil - Improves the body use of insulin, increases good cholesterol, boosts thyroid function and acts as an antioxidant and natural antibiotic.
Walnuts - Helps promote blood flow, which in turn allows for efficient delivery of oxygen to the brain.
Eggs - Contains choline which is a nutrient that is involved in the body's production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts memory.
Legumes and beans - Includes magnesium, iron, folate and potassium. These components help maintain the functioning of the body's systems and action potential in the cells of the brain.
As they go about their daily lives, it is inevitable that their normal lifestyle will become increasingly more challenging with the onset of dementia. You can make chronic care for your loved ones easier with some equipment that can help them regain some independence and assist them in their daily activities (activities of daily living, ADLs)!
Compensating for memory loss - Use large-print pill boxes with the days of the week written provide visual reminders to take daily pills or use automatic pill dispenser with reminder alarm systems.
Adaptive devices that help during meals - Adaptive equipment may include a spill-proof cup with two handles that is easier to grasp, a plate with suction that won’t slide around and utensils with built-up handles that are easier to grasp. In addition, as the person loses the ability to control a spoon or fork, provide easy-to-eat finger foods or use stabilizing handles for utensils to help patients with hand tremors eat more easily.
Adaptive equipment to increase safety - Enhance safety with anti-slip floor treatment, and install grab bars in the shower and on toilets. An individual who wanders may have a transmitter attached to the ankle so that an alarm sounds when the door is opened or similarly, wear a wristwatch with GPS tracker so that the family is aware of his/her whereabouts at any one time.
SilverAlly is here to help you
All the information listed may seem daunting and overwhelming. We understand that caregiving may stressful and exhausting especially when it comes with the emotional burden of having to come to terms with your loved one suffering. We can give you more advice and support. Contact us for a free face-to-face consultation today.