Dementia

Dementia is a word that is used to describe problems with the brain and how it works. People with dementia have memory loss. They may also have problems with thinking, speaking, or solving problems. It can affect how they act around people, how they do their job, their mood, and their personality. These changes may not show up for a long time. Family or friends may not notice problems in the early part of this disease.

HOME CARE

The following tips are for the person living with, or caring for, the person with dementia.

Make the home safe.

  • Remove locks on bathroom doors.

  • Use childproof locks on cabinets where alcohol, cleaning supplies, or chemicals are stored.

  • Put outlet covers in electrical outlets.

  • Put in childproof locks to keep doors and windows safe.

  • Remove stove knobs, or put in safety knobs that shut off on their own.

  • Lower the temperature on water heaters.

  • Label medicines. Lock them in a safe place.

  • Keep knives, lighters, matches, power tools, and guns out of reach or in a safe place.

  • Remove objects that might break or can hurt the person.

  • Make sure lighting is good inside and outside.

  • Put in grab bars if needed.

  • Use a device that detects falls or other needs for help.

Lessen confusion.

  • Keep familiar objects and people around.

  • Use night lights or low lit (dim) lights at night.

  • Label objects or areas.

  • Use reminders, notes, or directions for daily activities or tasks.

  • Keep a simple routine that is the same for waking, meals, bathing, dressing, and bedtime.

  • Create a calm and quiet home.

  • Put up clocks and calendars.

  • Keep emergency numbers and the home address near all phones.

  • Help show the different times of day. Open the curtains during the day to let light in.

Speak clearly and directly.

  • Choose simple words and short sentences.

  • Use a gentle, calm voice.

  • Do not interrupt.

  • If the person has a hard time finding a word to use, give them the word or thought.

  • Ask 1 question at a time. Give enough time for the person to answer. Repeat the question if the person does not answer.

Do things that lessen restlessness.

  • Provide a comfortable bed.

  • Have the same bedtime routine every night.

  • Have a regular walking and activity schedule.

  • Lessen naps during the day.

  • Do not let the person drink a lot of caffeine.

  • Go to events that are not overwhelming.

Eat well and drink fluids.

  • Lessen distractions during meal times and snacks.

  • Avoid foods that are too hot or too cold.

  • Watch how the person chews and swallows. This is to make sure they do not choke.

Other

  • Keep all vision, hearing, dental, and medical visits with the doctor.

  • Only give medicines as told by the doctor.

  • Watch the person's driving ability. Do not let the person drive if he or she cannot drive safely.

  • Use a program that helps find a person if they become missing. You may need to register with this program.

GET HELP RIGHT AWAY IF:

  • A fever of 102° F (38.9° C) develops.

  • Confusion develops or gets worse.

  • Sleepiness develops or gets worse.

  • Staying awake is hard to do.

  • New behavior problems start like mood swings, aggression, and seeing things that are not there.

  • Problems with balance, speech, or falling develop.

  • Problems swallowing develop.

  • Any problems of another sickness develop.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch his or her condition.

  • Will get help right away if he or she is not doing well or gets worse.