About 10 percent of Americans will develop some type of dementia within their lifetimes. Neurodegeneration, where neurons break down and die, is the most common type, but the narrowing of blood vessels, often through a stroke, can also cause dementia. Other common causes include infections, chemical imbalances and traumatic brain injuries. Usually, it is the family of a senior who notices the changes first. If you think someone you love has this disease, use these tips to cope with dementia on a daily basis.
Tip #1: Stay Positive
There may be times that you have to hide in order for the person to not see your tears, but it is important to stay positive when you are dealing with a person with this syndrome. Approach the person slowly from the front. Coming up behind them or too quickly produces anxiety. Then, give them time to acknowledge your presence. Move to the side as they may see the person standing in front of them as confrontational. Since many seniors rely on a wheelchair to get around, remember to get down on their level. Offer your hand first. If they accept it, then continue with a hug or other body contact. Otherwise, back off when possible.
Tip #2 Ask Seniors to Help You
Seniors still want to feel important. Therefore, get creative in finding ways that they can help you with various projects. Offer simple choices when they need to do something. Avoid yes or no questions if the person must do an activity, such as changing their clothes after an accident. If the person still refuses, then ask them to try an activity. Break all activities down into concrete easy-to-follow steps.
Tip #3: Schedule Activities Carefully
Many seniors tire very easily, so choose activities within their ability level. Bring an extra change of clothes and plan extra bathroom stops on a regular basis. Plan trips as early in the day as possible because many seniors become more forgetful later in the day.