Things To Know About Offering First Aid To Dementia Patients

  • April 13, 2021 BY  Anthem Seniors
  • Anthem Senior Advantage

More than 47 million people worldwide live with dementia with America accounting for more than 16 million Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) caregivers. What is worrisome is the fact that this number is expected to increase in the elderly population. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s or another related dementia live at home, not in assisted living Anthem or nursing homes. However, as dementia progresses it can become challenging for home caregivers to take care of their loved ones. This is where specialized memory care- the best form of senior living in Anthem- can help them live a quality life.

This article aims to discuss how home caregivers can care for someone or provide first aid to a person dealing with dementia:

Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease– Remember Alzheimer’s affects different people differently. You must first educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of the disease to be able to recognize if your loved one actually has been afflicted with it. This is the only way you can provide first aid to someone suffering Alzheimer’s disease. There are three stages of Alzheimer’s- mild, moderate, and severe.

Watch out for symptoms like trouble remembering current events, decreased attention span, trouble following instructions, difficulty falling asleep, mood and personality changes, incontinence, wandering or getting lost, difficulty carrying out day-to-day tasks such as dressing, toileting, trouble following instructions. In the advanced stage, the individual will require assistance with most of their basic daily activities including walking, eating, etc. They may not be able to communicate and find it difficult to swallow.

Some of the common situations you may find your dementia loved one in include

Accusing someone wrongly– An individual with Alzheimer’s might accuse you wrongly of having stolen their thing, when in fact, the person himself has lost or misplaced the thing.

Wandering- Wandering or getting lost is a common behavioral disorder in dementia, especially in the advanced stages of the disease. If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, make sure the person always has their ID (consider medical ID jewelry in the form of a pendant or bracelet).

Fires– With their memory declining as the disease advances, the person may leave the oven on or might lose track of time when using microwave thus burning the food, or scalding himself for that matter. Look out for them when they are in the kitchen.

During medical and disaster emergencies, it is important to keep the person with dementia calm. For this, you should avoid physical force, explain the matter using simple words, try and take the person to a quiet place, distract the person by assigning him/her something simple, observe the person at all times (they shouldn’t go out of your sight).

Also, as the disease progresses, it takes a toll on the person’s communication wherein the person may not be able to express or understand what is said or if they are hurt or something is making them uncomfortable.

Some communication strategies:

  1. Establish eye contact when talking to the person and let them know you are there to help
  2. Speak slowly and softly
  3. Create a caring atmosphere for your loved one to easily express what they are feeling
  4. Relocate the person to a quiet place
  5. Ask them close-ended questions that have answers in “yes” or “no”
  6. Listen carefully what the person is trying to express (if they are hurt, in pain, so on and so forth)
  7. Observe any nonverbal signs like rubbing a body part which may be a sign of pain

Repeat or rephrase responses if you found it difficult to understand what the person tried to say or trying to say.