4 Tips When Helping a Loved One Cope with Dementia

Posted December 13, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

Do you live with a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia? Whether the diagnosis is new or not, it can be difficult for all. Not only does that person’s life change, but so do the lives of others living with them. If you are wondering what you can do to help a loved one cope with dementia, here are some basic tips you can start with.

Make Your Home Dementia-Friendly

The first thing you want to do is be sure your home is dementia-friendly. It needs to be a safe and supportive environment for your loved one, so that may require some changes. Some of the steps you can take include the following:

  • Make sure all spaces are well lit
  • Make updates to the bathroom to ensure it is safe and accessible
  • Switch to plastic plates and cutlery
  • Clear any obstacles in hallways, doorways and walkways

Go to All the Doctor Appointments

Attending all the doctor appointments with your loved one will also be wise. This is your opportunity to learn and ask questions, so don’t be scared to show up with a list of items you have jotted down that you want to address with the doctor.

Familiarize Yourself with Sundown Syndrome

It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with various issues that can arise in those diagnosed with dementia, and sundown syndrome is one of them. Sundown syndrome isn’t an official medical term, yet many people use it to describe a particular issue. It refers to a wide array of symptoms that tend to happen when the sun goes down late in the afternoon or early evening. The symptoms of dementia can worsen throughout the day and hit their peak point at sundown. This is when it can be the most difficult time of day for a person with dementia to cope and function.

For a more in-depth explanation, check out the following blog: What is sundown syndrome?

Some of the symptoms that can be noticeable at sundown include:

  • Wandering
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Pacing
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Agitation

There is no cure, but there are treatments that can be helpful. It’s best to speak to your loved one’s doctor to find out more.

Find a Support System for You

While it may seem like you need to devote all your time and energy to your loved one, you still need to look after your own physical and mental well-being. It can be quite helpful to have a support system you can rely on. This could be a couple of close friends or family members you can talk to, your doctor or a therapist – whatever helps you to better cope with the realities of dementia.

The important takeaway here is that coping with dementia is challenging for all who are involved – both the person living with the diagnosis and those caring for them. It will take patience, understanding and guidance to make life as smooth and stress-free as possible.

*Photo by Kindel Media