Dementia is marked by cognitive decline in older adults. People with dementia can experience forgetfulness and changes in their behaviour and personality. For these reasons, people with dementia are more likely to fall or suffer from other physical ailments. These can often result from a neglect in self-care behaviours due to memory loss symptoms.
Caring for dementia patients can require constant vigilance from their loved ones and caregivers. For this reason, respite care can be a helpful option for many families who want to provide their loved ones with the best care possible. Taking on this responsibility alone can be too demanding or stressful, taking up the caretaker’s time and energy until they can no longer find the chance to focus on themselves.
Caregivers for Dementia Patients
This kind of constant demand on a person’s time and energy can cause chronic stress, financial troubles, relationship troubles, and other symptoms of emotional strain. Financial problems can arise from the need to leave work frequently in order to deal with emergencies or to check in on the person they are caring for. Caregivers are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, which will not only affect their own life, but the lives of those around them as well. This issue can cause further relationship problems because caregivers can develop a low tolerance for these activities or they can experience frustration towards their loved one, which will not be helpful in managing their illness. The strain can also lead to increased social isolation if the caregiver feels like all of their energy goes towards caring for someone else. They might feel too drained, which can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or a lack of motivation when it comes to other social engagements.
It is important for caregivers to take some time for themselves. Without this, managing the symptoms of dementia can feel like a greater burden. This feeling can sometimes lead to higher incidences of neglect or abuse for the patient. Otherwise, caregivers can also begin to neglect their own needs and self-care behaviours, which will extend the negative reach of dementia symptoms.
How Can You Help?
For these families, a good option is respite care. Respite care involves temporary, short-term in-home care. This kind of service can give caretakers the breaks they need so they can take some time to care for themselves.
Furthermore, exercise programs can help to physically and mentally stimulate people who have dementia. This kind of stimulation can help to reduce their symptoms and keep them more active. Regular physical activity can help to maintain fitness, preventing falls and further dependence on caregivers. Exercise programs can also help older adults stay involved in social activities. Knowing that their loved ones with dementia are being well cared for can help caretakers to relax, knowing they do not have to be the only one responsible for their care.