A dementia diagnosis can be shocking and difficult for you and your loved ones, especially if you are close to the patient. Your lives will change as you work to make accommodations for the disease, but there are a few things you can implement to make everything easier for you and your loved one. Here are a few simple things you can do to make your daily routines go more smoothly as the disease progresses.
1. Invest in a lift chair.
Lift chairs are similar to rocker recliners-- they look just the same. But, they have a mechanical lift that helps a person to sit down without effort, and also to help them get up again from the chair. Dementia eventually begins to affect muscle memory, and you will need to assist your loved one to sit and stand. If you are not very strong or have physical challenges, this task can be wearing on your own body and well-being. A lift chair will make it easier for the patient to have more autonomy over their own actions, as you will not need to help them sit and stand every timr. The chair can do it for them.
2. Keep things in the same place.
Your general organization will need to improve as dementia progresses. Memory loss is common in dementia patients, and they have trouble remembering where they were going or where to put things after using them. Therefore, always returning things to the same place after use keeps you from needing to remind your loved one of things constantly. Return toothbrushes and toothpaste to the same cabinet. Keep dishes in the same places. You can even try to keep milk and cheese in the same places in the fridge.
Along the same vein, some patients benefit from keeping the furniture in the same order. Dementia can cause disorientation, and so your loved one may struggle to adapt to a new environment. Keeping patterns and furniture the same will help them to do better for longer.
3. Keep comforting objects in sight.
Those who struggle with dementia have periods of disorientation where they might panic or feel lost because they are unable to fully process their surroundings. In these cases, it is good to have calming influences in the home, such as pictures of loved ones they can remember, or objects that bring them back to a peaceful memory, like a souvenir from a vacation or a token from a loved one.
4. Install safety measures in bathrooms and hallways.
Navigating a bathroom is difficult for someone with dementia, because as the physical ability of the body declines, it is hard to stay balanced and climb in and out of a bathtub. If you don't already have them, install handrails in the shower. You can also install a taller toilet or purchase a special seat so that it is easier for your loved one to sit down. Consider installing a non-slip floor, like vinyl or rubber tiles, that is more forgiving to falls than ceramic tiles.
Similarly, hallways can become difficult to navigate, especially in darkness. Placing a handrail can help provide stability and security for patients as they remain mobile.
5. Create a clearly visible schedule.
Because people with dementia may have both short and long-term memory loss, they can become frustrated when plans are not fully communicated to them. Placing a large whiteboard in the common room, or in your loved one's bedroom, with to-do lists and plans, can help them to feel like they are in more control and that they can stay on task and be useful. A written plan is also good because if they do forget, they can look at the schedule instead of always needing to ask someone the same questions. Keeping a schedule relatively regular also helps with this problem.Share