It can be hard to know what to do when your loved one is diagnosed with dementia. You might have many questions about their diagnosis and what it means for the future. We’ve made a list of 3 common dementia questions that you or your loved ones may be asking. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Can My Loved One Understand That They have Dementia?
This question is one of the most common dementia questions. However, the answer is not a simple yes or no. There is some confusion among dementia patients, and the answers might depend on which type of dementia they have.
More than half of all dementia patients lack insight into the extent of their cognitive impairment. If you can already tell your loved one is struggling to understand the severity of their dementia, it’s best not to force them.
2. How Far Has the Dementia Progressed?
Some types of dementia are measured in stages. Be sure to ask your loved one’s physician what stage your loved one is in if their type can be measured.
Stage 0: No symptoms, but possible risk factors in brain scan or blood work
Stage I (very mild): Memory loss is not noticeable to loved ones; slight difficulty with organization and planning tasks
Stage II (mild cognitive impairment): Loved one’s memory might be getting worse over time; still able to function at home and hold a job
Stage III (moderate cognitive impairment): Difficulty remembering conversations, names of family members, or common words; some confusion about day/night schedules; needs help from others for self-care activities like cooking meals or taking medication
Stage IV (severe dementia): Forgetfulness severe enough that it affects daily life
3. What Kind of Changes Should I Anticipate?
There are ways for you as a caregiver or loved one to make new changes and adjustments easier on both yourself and your family member living with dementia. Be sure to incorporate the following tips in your dementia care plan when caring for a parent with dementia:
Let them do as much as they’re able on their own. As dementia progresses, many people need help with everyday tasks like cooking or showering. Give up some control now so that he or she doesn’t resent being dependent on others later in life (or even worse: before death).
Speak plainly and calmly. It’s common for people with dementia to misread social cues and become defensive or agitated in response to something that was said or done, even if the person didn’t mean it as a slight.
Create a personal space for them by creating an area of their home where only they can go without others’ assistance. This will help make living spaces feel private, which is comforting for many people with dementia who may be prone to feeling lonely when left alone all day long (or night).
Be patient about changes in behavior patterns. This dementia symptom can be difficult for caregivers to understand, but it’s important not to make assumptions about why a person acts a certain way.
Provide lots of opportunities for physical activity because people living with dementia often experience low energy levels that lead to feelings of depression and loneliness.
Dementia Questions: Caring for Your Loved One
Providing care to someone living with dementia can be challenging and requires ongoing dedication. However, there are ways for you as a caregiver or loved one to make new changes and adjustments easier on both yourself and your family member living with dementia. If you found this post on dementia questions helpful, be sure to check out more from our blog!