People with dementia will experience progression of their symptoms and behavior problems over time. Caregivers may need to adapt the following suggestions to individual situations:
Nov. 22, 2014
- Enhance communication. When talking with your loved one, maintain eye contact. Speak slowly in simple sentences, and don't rush the response. Present only one idea or instruction at a time. Use gestures and cues, such as pointing to objects.
Encourage exercise. Exercise benefits everyone, including people with dementia. The main benefits of exercise include improved strength and cardiovascular health.
Some research also shows physical activity may slow the progression of impaired thinking (cognitive) function in people with dementia.
Exercise can also lessen symptoms of depression, help retain motor skills and create a calming effect.
- Encourage participation in games and thinking activities. Participating in games, crossword puzzles and other activities in which people are using thinking (cognitive) skills may help slow mental decline in people with dementia.
Establish a nighttime ritual. Behavior is often worse at night. Try to establish going-to-bed rituals that are calming and away from the noise of television, meal cleanup and active family members. Leave night lights on to prevent disorientation.
Limiting caffeine during the day, discouraging daytime napping and offering opportunities for exercise during the day may help prevent nighttime restlessness.
- Encourage keeping a calendar. Keeping a reminder calendar may help your loved one remember upcoming events, daily activities and medication schedules. Consider sharing a calendar with your loved one.
- Plan for the future. Develop a plan with your loved one that identifies goals for care in the future. Several support groups, legal advisers, family members and others can help you. You'll need to consider financial and legal issues, safety and daily living concerns, and long-term care options.
- What is dementia? Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Dementia: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm?css. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
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- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
- Shadlen MF, et al. Risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 29, 2014.
- Press D, et al. Treatment of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 29, 2014.
- Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/caring-person-alzheimers-disease/about-guide. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Alternative treatments. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_alternative_treatments.asp. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of Alzheimer's disease. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 30, 2014.
- Preventing Alzheimer's disease: What do we know? National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/introduction. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Lapid MI (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 12, 2014.
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