Supporting a loved one with dementia
If you have a loved one living with dementia, you may find it difficult to cope and feel overwhelmed by the changes that are taking place in their life, your life and the life of your family. In Australia, it is estimated that almost 400,000 people are living with dementia. As a carer or support person, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Here are ways that you can best support a loved one with dementia.
Be patient and understanding
Dementia can be a gradual process and your loved one may not always be able to communicate what they are feeling or thinking. It is critical to be patient and understand that they may not be able to express themselves clearly. The first step in supporting a loved one with dementia is to understand the best you can what they are going through daily.
Dementia affects everyone differently and the symptoms can range from mild to severe; some common symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating
- Problems with problem-solving
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Changes in mood or behavior
It is important to remember that each person experiences dementia in their own way and the severity of symptoms will vary from person to person. While some people may only experience mild memory loss, others may lose the ability to speak or walk.
Be patient and willing to listen
When communicating with a loved one suffering from dementia, it is critical to be patient and willing to listen. As the disease progresses, your loved one may have difficulty understanding what you are saying or communicating their own thoughts and feelings. It is critical to be patient and allow them time to process information. Let them know you’re there for them and that you’re willing to listen when they’re ready to talk.
Seek support for yourself
Caring for a loved one suffering from dementia can be mentally and physically exhausting. It is critical to ensure that you are also taking care of yourself. Seek out support networks and resources, whether in person or online. Find a caregiver or aged care service provider who can relieve you of your caregiving responsibilities. This will allow you to concentrate on taking care of yourself, making you a better caregiver in the long run.
Supporting a loved one suffering from dementia can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous resources available to assist caregivers as well as people living with the condition. Take advantage of these resources and seek assistance as needed. Remember to be patient, understanding and willing to listen – your loved one will thank you more than you realise.
If you need any further assistance on aged care services, contact Teresa Sandona or Kerrie Harding on 1300 122 730 or via email at to discuss the support you seek.