Receiving the news that a loved one or a family member has been diagnosed with Dementia can feel devastating. It’s a disease that is truly unique because it doesn’t just affect a person’s physical abilities, but it also triggers a person’s mind.
It’s a disease that progresses fairly rapidly and is characterized by a decline in memory, problem-solving, language, and other thinking skills that affect an individual’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Watching someone transition, as the later stages of Dementia set in, people living with the disease likely will not recognize family members or friends. Their sense of time and place is misconstrued and there’s really nothing you or anyone else can do to change their perspective. It can be an overwhelming experience.
The one thing you can do, however, is get as much help as possible to cope with these difficult situations, and to provide the best quality of life for your loved one during this challenging time.
Integracare is a high quality, private home health care service and are specialized Dementia Care experts in Toronto and Mississauga. We understand the complexities of delivering the best possible support to people living with Dementia and their families.
We’ve been doing this for almost thirty years in Toronto, and we apply compassion and experience with all of our Clients living with Dementia.
We provide professional educated Caregivers who receive regular and exclusive training sessions from the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto as well as background and reference checks to ensure that you and your family member are safe and in good hands.
Our Caregivers who specialize in Dementia Care are very special people. We pride ourselves on administering a fairly rigorous employment process because the position of a Caregiver is highly specialized and it requires deep dedication, relevant experience, and a compassionate and understanding personality.
Consider how your loved one’s Caregiver is educated in how to handle difficult situations that might arise with people living with Dementia, and how these coping mechanisms might help you to better understand the disease and the behavioural changes taking place in the person you love.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not an individual disease: it’s an overall term — such as heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions including:
- Alzheimer’s disease — the most common type of Dementia
- Parkinson’s disease Dementia — many people with Parkinson’s disease will develop Dementia. This type often causes a person to become irritable, and symptoms often include depression and anxiety
- Vascular Dementia — this is caused from lack of blood flow to the brain, and can be triggered by a stroke
- Lewy Body Dementia — this is caused by protein deposits in nerve cells which interrupts chemical messages in the brain causing memory loss and disorientation
- Mixed Dementia — Mixed Dementia is very common. The most common combination is Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Up to 45 percent of people with Dementia have mixed Dementia but don’t know it
How to Cope
Clients with Dementia suffer from a myriad of symptoms from memory loss to personality changes, and potentially aggression, withdrawal, depression, and debilitating confusion.
It may be difficult to support your loved one on your own. You likely need in home nursing care or personal support services to give your loved one the full attention and support that they need.
Leaving a place of familiarity can cause a lot of harm for people living with Dementia. If medically possible, the best choice is often to remain at home.
Sometimes when Dementia enters the most severe stages, it might be a better idea to make the transition into a hospital but in the meantime, home health care offers critical and necessary services.
And, you will avoid implementing any additional trauma into your loved one’s life. It’s such a confusing time for them as it is — maintaining a routine as much as possible for Clients is integral to their overall wellbeing.
Integracare ensures that all of our Caregivers have extensive professional Dementia education as taught by the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto. You should know that our Caregivers are there for you no matter what the situation, and you can count on us to not only be there for you on a professional level, but we’re here to help you on an emotional one, as well.
Our Caregivers spend a lot of time with your friend or family member, and this means you’ll be getting to know them, too. We’re there to hold your hand, to offer a shoulder to cry on, and to provide genuine companionship.
Take a look at these tips so that you and your family can prepare yourselves for what might unfold as your loved one’s Dementia develops with time.
Clients with Dementia may no longer be able to accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal cues, and this can cause anxiety and frustration for Caregivers, family members, and Clients themselves.
Our Caregivers are clear and concise in their communications — repeating things as necessary using the same words or messages.
Reducing extraneous noises and distractions is helpful when trying to communicate. Refrain from using confusing pronouns such as he, she, or it, and instead use specific names and titles.
Remember that All Behaviour has Meaning
Experts believe that behavioral symptoms exhibited by people living with Dementia such as shouting or acting out, are meaningful. They may feel uncomfortable or particularly confused but are unable to demonstrate or communicate why or how as they typically would.
Although the Client doesn’t generally intend to disrupt things or to hurt anyone, they want to be noticed and communicate a need that is not being met.
It’s important to remember that your loved one is not exhibiting drastic behavior on purpose — it’s more likely that they’re trying to convey a message that they can sadly no longer explain in words.
Our Caregivers truly try to see the world through their specific Clients’ eyes. It’s hard to imagine what that must be like, but it’s important to do so when working people living with Dementia. As a family member, try to do the same.
Slow down and consider what your family member or friend might be trying to communicate.
Work with your loved one’s Caregiver to identify different types of signifiers so you can make their life a little more comfortable and joyful.
Integracare also offers comforting palliative care that is a wonderful complimentary type of support for people with Dementia. Our team of professionals would monitor any changes in personality and behaviour on a 24/7 basis.
Savour the Good Times
Of course, having Dementia doesn’t mean that life will always be challenging. Your loved one will have good days and you’ll be able to reminisce about the past and speak of the good times.
Our Caregivers will socialize with your family member or friend, play board games, and engage in physical activity with them. These engagements activate brain activity, and it’s a great way for Clients to enjoy themselves.
Dementia is not an easy disease to define, let alone to live with. But with compassionate and experienced support from professional in-home Caregivers, your loved one will be in trusted, good hands. Please call us to learn more and to speak with one of our representatives.