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What Are The Needs Of A Person With Dementia

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  • 28-09-2022
What Are The Needs Of A Person With Dementia

What are the needs of a person with dementia? Find out more about understanding and supporting a person with dementia and the care needs of persons with dementia.

Understanding & supporting a person with dementia

Being able to gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to live with dementia is essential for helping to support someone who has the condition to live well and comfortably. In the below discussion, we will cover topics including your role as a caregiver and the needs of someone with dementia.

The way that a person who suffers from dementia experiences life and feels every day is down to more than just living with the condition. Everything, including their relationships, support, and environment, will all shape their experiences too. In order to help a person with dementia feel valued and included, they will need support from their carers, friends and family.

What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse?

Care Needs of Persons With Dementia

Dementia minimises a person's cognitive functions, as well as their ability to perform routine activities. The condition is also associated with a variety of different challenging behaviours.

As the dementia progresses, the individual will need to have assistance with their daily life so they can still carry out their regular activities. For example, moving around, eating, and ensuring they are clean.

There are instrumental activities in daily life, such as shopping, finances, health management, and meal preparation, which they will need assistance with too.

In order to manage any already existing medical conditions, the assistance of medical and nursing care may also be required.

The same goes for multiple medications, incontinence, and mobility devices. As dementia grows and the individual requires more help each day, in many cases, their quality of life will decrease.

There are various psychosocial aspects relating to dementia. These can include anxiety, dementia, and a large strain on their surrounding family relationships. There also exists stigmas against people with dementia, and they may experience this when living their life.

What are the needs of a person with dementia?

It is difficult to know exactly what the experience of having dementia is like because very few studies about dementia that include the individual discussing their life with the disease have been included. 

Those that have been completed and include the perspective of the individual with the disease usually have a very small sample size and will only include people with either mild or moderate dementia symptoms. It has been found that many people with dementia wish to maintain their sense of personal identity, as well as keep up their quality of life.

Some wish to retain their independence for as long as possible by doing daily tasks and taking part in key decisions that relate to their life going forward. Some subgroups of people who suffer from dementia may need to have their own specific care. This can include those who have young-onset dementia, individuals who live alone, and those with developmental disabilities.

Dementia patients may also require end of life care at home

Coping strategies a person with dementia might use

Practical Strategies - This means setting up prompts or reminders. Preparing decisions a long time in advance can also be very helpful. Selecting a lasting power of attorney for the future is very important too.

Social Strategies - This means relying on help from the family, taking support from spiritual pieces of literature and beliefs, or joining up with activity groups where socialising takes place

Emotional Strategies - It is important to use humour when dealing with a trauma of this kind. It can also help to focus on varieties of short-term pleasure, as well as living in the current moment and trying to shift perspectives to focus on the positive aspects of their life.

Health Improvement Strategies - It is important for people suffering from dementia to exercise as much as possible. It can also help to adopt a healthy diet and cut down on any drinking or smoking that takes place in their lifestyle.

People with dementia who live alone

According to studies done in 2011, using a general definition of possible and probable dementia, over thirty percent of people with dementia over the age of sixty-five were living on their own.

If you are only including people who have a narrower definition of probable dementia, thirteen percent of individuals with dementia were living alone.

People who live alone and suffer from dementia are at great risk of self-neglect. This is when an adult who is considered vulnerable is completely unable to perform very basic self-care needs.

This includes simple tasks such as buying and preparing food, being able to dress, and managing their own physical and mental health care needs.

In addition to this, people who have dementia and live on their own are much more likely to have their needs unmet than people with dementia who live with others.

People With Dementia Who Live Alone

This is especially true when it comes to areas of life such as preparing food, cleaning the home, and accidentally harming themselves. Some other issues that relate to people with dementia who live alone are wandering, malnutrition, social isolation, medication nonadherence, and responsiveness to emergencies. It isn't uncommon for people who suffer from dementia to completely resist any interventions.

They can also completely underestimate the severity of their condition, as well as the importance of their cognitive deficits. They can also have very little awareness of their current circumstances, which can then place them at great risk and lead to dangerous outcomes.

Young-onset dementia

It is estimated that somewhere around four percent or 200,000 of the more than 5 million Americans that suffer from dementia have young-onset dementia. This means that they have dementia that was diagnosed at an age earlier than sixty-five.

Obtaining a diagnosis of dementia can be very difficult for those who are under the age of sixty-five. Some signs that can signal dementia, such as changes in personality and behaviour, can occasionally be misdiagnosed in younger people. This is because dementia is so unexpected in people who are young. The diagnosis itself can bring on strong feelings of fear and loss, and this can only worsen due to the stigma of the disease. Young people who suffer from young-onset dementia may be very hesitant to disclose their diagnosis to anyone around them.

What happens with the majority of people who suffer from young-onset dementia is that they are currently employed when they receive the diagnosis. Then due to their dementia's advancing symptoms, such as loss of judgement and poor planning skills, the individual will have to leave their job, or they will be told that they can no longer work at the employer anymore. This means a loss of income.

In addition to this, those who suffer from young-onset dementia can also completely lose their sense of identity. This can mean that participation in meaningful activities will also come to an end. They will have to stop driving in case they cause an accident, and they will be a family member that is dependent on others. As the disease progresses further, individuals with young-onset dementia are heavily at risk of becoming socially ostracised, as friends and family will not understand the diagnosis fully. It can also be difficult as the majority of resources for people with dementia are aimed toward older people.

People with intellectual & developmental disabilities & dementia

Research has shown that health problems related to age among those who have intellectual disabilities are generally much like those in the general population.

This includes the development of dementia in an individual's later years. It has also been established that adults with Down syndrome are at a very high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in their middle age.

The risk of dementia for those who have other intellectual disabilities has not received as much attention, so very little research has been done.

Changes in personality, speech, and behaviour are all early signs of dementia in those who have Down syndrome. These symptoms vary from those who suffer to those individuals who suffer from early dementia within the general population.

Neurological symptoms, for example, seizures and myoclonus (this is the sudden and unintentional jerking of muscles), can also occur at a much higher percentage in those with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease than in the general public who also suffer from these conditions.

People With Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities & Dementia

The intensity and the types of services that will be needed for dealing with dementia's symptoms will increase over time with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, just as they do for the rest of the general population.

However, with intellectual and developmental disabilities and dementia, there may be a larger emphasis placed on making sure that the care is completely consistent and stress-free. Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as dementia, may need to move to a community residential home where they can better take care of all their needs in a way that will not stress the individual.

If you have questions about the needs of a person with dementia we hope this information has been useful to you.

We offer specialist home care services and live-in care for vulnerable adults throughout London. Get in contact today if you have a loved one that would benefit from professional care at home.