Currently, there are more than 472,000 people living with dementia across Australia. As such, dementia impacts about 1 in 15 people, and this number is expected to increase. That’s at least partially due to a growing elderly population. More than 70% of people in long-term care also experience some form of dementia.
Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not one condition. Instead, it is an umbrella term and there are reportedly more than 400 different types of dementia. This is why it is important to understand the typical symptoms of dementia. Once you are aware of the symptoms, you can put the right coping mechanisms in place when caring for a parent with dementia or a loved one. This will make their life easier.
Common Symptoms And Signs Of Dementia In Elderly Individuals
There are various common signs of dementia in elderly individuals. This includes memory loss. You may notice short-term memory issues where a loved one struggles to remember what happened yesterday.
One of the most common early signs of dementia is lowered levels of concentration. You might notice a loved one phasing in and out of focus during a conversation. This may make it difficult for them to follow a conversation.
A person with dementia can also struggle with day-to-day tasks. This can include getting dressed, making a meal for themselves, or going shopping.
As mentioned, there are hundreds of different types of dementia. As such, there can be other symptoms that can impact an individual including:
- Mood changes
- Increase anxiety
- Language difficult
- Mobility issues
- Increased falls
- Visual hallucinations
This is not an exhaustive list. Despite this, there are general steps you can take to help the elderly with dementia and ensure they have an easier life.
Helping With Memory Problems
You should consider exploring ways that you can help the elderly with dementia if they have memory issues. One of the ways that you can do this is by placing reminders around the environment. This can include labeling drawers and cupboards, and helping them to find items. If they struggle to remember their daily routine. A morning schedule can be added to the wall of the bedroom. Pictures can also be used and some elderly with dementia will find pictures easier to understand.
Modern technology can also be used to help an elderly individual with dementia. With smart home control systems, it’s possible to ensure the home adapts to their needs throughout the day. This can include routines such as opening the curtains or turning the heating down when it gets too hot.
Reduce The Risk Of Trips Or Falls
Dementia can increase the chance of an elderly individual experiencing a fall, even in the safety of their own home. Dementia can impact elements such as balance and motor control. This means that an individual is more likely to trip walking up or down the stairs. That’s why it is important to consider installing a stairlift when caring for a parent with dementia at home. A change like this will significantly reduce the risk of an incident here.
Non Slip flooring can also be installed within the property to reduce the risk of a fall. Changes to the flooring can also guarantee that an injury is likely to be less severe.
Encourage Activities To Keep Their Minds And Body Active
A crucial element of dementia home care is focused on improving the quality of life for elderly individuals. This can include planning activities that are fun, interesting, or exciting. However, these activities are also used to keep their brains and body active. The mind is like a muscle. The more you stretch it, the healthier it will be in the long term. Similarly, exercising the body can increase levels of mobility and strengthen the muscles. This can help with stiffness and pain which can also be other common symptoms of dementia.
Finally, you should think about setting routines for the elderly with dementia that they can follow throughout the day. This will again make it easier for them to remember key activities and reduce the chances of them feeling lost or confused as they navigate daily life with or without support from a professional carer.
We hope this helps you make life a little easier for your loved one, particularly if you are caring for a parent or parents with dementia at home. Remember, when an elderly individual does start to show symptoms of dementia they will struggle to continue living independently. They may require the support of professional dementia home care services to guarantee the best quality of life.