Grandparents Day 2022: Tips to help your grandparents deal with dementia
If your grandparent is dealing with dementia, it is important to spend a lot of time with them, limit their naps and keep them engaged. Here are tips.
As much as it's disheartening to see your beloved grandmother or grandfather struggle with dementia, it is important to accept how things are now and accompany them in this new journey. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and while initially it's mild, as it progresses and reaches severe stage, the person suffering from it will need to depend on others for carrying out daily activities. Dementia is more common in elderly and Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common types of dementia. (Also read: Grandparents Day 2022: Tips to strengthen bond with your grandparents)
Helping your grandparents deal with dementia would require a role reversal. While your granddad or grandmother may have taken care of your needs when you were a child and told you many stories, it's time for you to turn a caregiver and bond with them as much as you can so that their mind is active.
"Dealing with dementia is not easy. It affects a patient’s memory, thinking and social abilities enough to interfere with day-to-day life. As a loved one, you need to spend a lot of time with the patient. If your grandparent is dealing with it, spend a lot of time with them. Make them feel lively as they feel a lot of things due to memory loss," says Dr Sankalp Surya Mohan, Sr. Consultant - Neurology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram said.
“We aren’t born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementia—but we can learn by making small changes in our behaviour and the way we conduct ourselves. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention; address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation. Speak slowly, distinctly, and in a reassuring tone. Refrain from raising your voice higher or louder. Stay away from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choice. Stay focused on the feelings they are demonstrating (which are real) and respond with verbal and physical expressions of comfort, support, and reassurance," says Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Psychiatrist and Founder, Manasthali.
SPEND TIME WITH THEM
"The best way you can help your grandparents with dementia is to give them some of your time. When somebody in your family has dementia, it can change your life in many different ways. It’s normal to feel many different emotions. This might feel difficult to do but it actually helps. Do things that you both enjoy," says Dr. Neeraj Kumar Singh, Consultant- Internal Medicine, Cygnus Laxmi Hospital, Varanasi.
READ ABOUT DEMENTIA
"Read a lot about dementia and learn it from trusted books and websites. Position yourself so they can see you clearly. Respect their personal space, not sitting too close nor too far away. Use a warm and calming tone of voice. Do not raise your voice or speak sharply to them," says Dr Singh.
HELP THEM DO LITTLE THINGS
"They are often confused about how to handle things like plugging in an earphone or keeping a thing properly on the table. It is not easy at an old age to deal with such issues. The best tip for you is to be friendly with your grandparents. Make them feel like your buddy. Though it needs a lot of patients due to the effects of dementia, you’ll have to try every single day, "says Dr Sankalp Surya Mohan.
"Plan your daily routine with them that best suits their medication timings and symptoms. Take your time and plan how you can be helpful to the patient. Plan activities that involve them and provide them with choices," says Dr Mohan.
LIMIT THE NAPPING TIME
Dr Mohan says it is important to limit their napping time as they would prefer to sleep and not be noticed most of the time which has to be changed. "Your grandparents can have an ample amount of sleep but not too much to keep them lazy. Reduce their distractions and try keeping track of their diet," says Dr Mohan.