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Dementia Patient In The Family - What Should You Do To Help?

Dr. Akshata Bhat 95% (1993 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Mumbai  •  6 years experience
Dementia Patient In The Family - What Should You Do To Help?

Dementia severely affects a person’s normal activities, and the role of the family in helping the patient to manage the condition is crucial. A person diagnosed with dementia would invariably experience a wide array of emotions which may include denial, loneliness, frustration, anger and extreme depression. So, if any of your family member is suffering from dementia, here are some of the ways by which you can take care of the affected individual.

Know more about the disease your loved one is suffering from:
When your loved one is suffering from dementia, it is your responsibility as a caregiver to know more about the disease and the symptoms. Dementia is a progressive biological brain disorder which progresses at a fast pace. Moreover, dementia is known for causing behavioral changes, alteration in personality and mood swings.

  1. Set a positive mood: When you are communicating, your attitude towards the affected individual should be conveyed effectively through your actions and not just words. You should attempt to establish a positive mood by speaking with the patient respectfully. Your physical touch, facial expressions, and tone of voice play a commendable role in showing your feelings towards the person.
  2. Convey your message clearly: While interacting with a person who has dementia, you should use simple words and sentences in a reassuring tone. Your manner should be straightforward and comforting. You should never raise your voice even when the person is not able to understand what you are saying. You should repeat the same thing using the same words until the patient understands. It is also a good practice to use names of places and persons instead of referring to them through pronouns.
  3. Answer with heart: You should be very patient to receive the reply from the sick person. In case the affected individual is struggling to find an answer, it is always good to suggest some words. You should also be watchful of any non-verbal cues as well as body language and respond appropriately. You should always strive to listen to the feelings that lie beyond the words.
  4. Attend to your own health: Even though you may find this to be a no-brainer, research indicates that caregivers are more prone to be affected by Alzheimer ’s disease, depression, and other illnesses particularly when they don't receive adequate support from the family. When you are the caregiver, make sure that you receive sufficient amount of sleep and proper nutrition and most importantly, exercise and socializing. When you are exhausted or socially isolated, you are at a risk of becoming physically ill and depressed. The sooner you seek aid, the longer you can lead a happy life.

Any disease can upset the routine of the entire family. But with proper awareness and positive attitude, any challenge can be handled in the best possible manner.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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