Dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interfere with everyday activities. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated five million adults over 65 with dementia in 2014. As the U.S. population ages, they project that number to increase to 14 million by 2060.
Elderly adults with dementia require specialized care. It's a progressive condition, which means the symptoms worsen over time. Seniors who are in the early stages of dementia are typically able to handle some aspects of daily life on their own. With the right care tailored to their needs, seniors with cognitive decline can age with dignity, enjoyment, and some independence in their own homes.
Choosing to bring in care early can provide support not only to those with cognitive decline but to the family as well. Building a relationship with a trusted provider can make modifying the care plan easier as conditions change.
Here are five reasons why bringing in-home care early is beneficial for memory care:
- ESTABLISH ROUTINE – According to agingcare.com, an established daily routine can help with the challenges of losing short-term memory. Routines are often associated with our procedural and long-term memory. Since Alzheimer’s typically impacts short-term memory first, building a consistent daily routine early on after a diagnosis can help the patient remember that familiar routine well into the middle stages of the condition, which can potentially alleviate feelings of frustration, confusion, or anxiety.
- COMPANIONSHIP – In-home care provides one-on-one attention and can provide companionship and sensory stimulation by facilitating activities such as painting, listening to music, or walking outside.
- MONITOR PROPER NUTRITION – The Alzheimer’s Association notes that a balanced diet with proper hydration is essential for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. In the later stages of the condition, patients may experience swallowing problems, which can lead to choking and possible weight loss. Having a solid understanding of which foods to eat can help mediate these symptoms. In-home Caregivers are able to help with feeding and meal preparation.
- ENACT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS – It’s common for patients with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about where they are, which could put their safety at risk. Putting preventive measures and safety modifications around the home early on can prevent the unthinkable from happening. In-home care will be able to provide a home safety assessment to help determine what modifications may need to be made.
- GIVING FAMILY CAREGIVERS A BREAK – Caring for a loved one with dementia is a marathon, not a sprint, and can be physically and mentally draining. Respite care services can allow family caregivers to recharge and care for themselves.
The exact rate of progression for dementia can be challenging to predict but creating a long-term care plan early on will help patients better understand the condition, the available treatment options, and what to expect as the disease progresses. Knowing which services and resources are available will make it easier when a transition is necessary.
Are you or a loved one in need of in-home care? Home Helpers® Home Care is here to help. For over 25 years, we have provided exceptional in-home care for seniors, new moms and families, and those with disabilities, illness, or recovering from injury or surgery. We’re here to be a trusted partner in your dementia journey, with a team of compassionate professionals supporting you every step of the way. Our services and care plans are customizable, so you receive just the right amount of care and can be adjusted as needs change.
To learn more about our services, contact us to schedule your FREE in-home care assessment or find an agency near you.