Dementia is one of the most common conditions experienced by Australians. There are an estimated 400,000 Australians currently living with dementia, and an estimated 1.5 million Australians involved in the care of someone living with dementia.
Dementia can affect your ability to perform everyday tasks, like cleaning, cooking, and getting out and about in the community. This is where a set of helping hands, like a Like Family Social Carer, can come in handy!
If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, here are some tips to help them maintain their independence.
Check household safety
Someone living with dementia may be more prone to safety hazards. They may get more easily confused or lost, have difficulty balancing, and forget how to use certain household appliances.
If your family member with dementia is living at home, ensure the dwelling is as safe as it can be (without being too restrictive). Make sure every room is well lit and address any hazards like:
- unsteady furniture
- faulty kitchen appliances
- loose carpets
- other potential trip hazards
In addition, remember to secure items like medication and cleaning products to discourage someone from eating or touching them accidentally.
Address any other health issues
Some people with dementia may also have health issues like incontinence, hearing problems and vision problems. This can make socialising and independence even more difficult, and may prevent them from leaving the house due to fear or embarrassment.
You can help to alleviate these issues by having some tests done and addressing any problems as quickly as possible.
Provide household independence aids
Setting up a few simple aids throughout the home of your family member can help them feel independent. For example, install a few clocks around the house that are easy to read, with big bold numbers (rather than roman numerals) and hands that clearly present the time. Large calendars can help someone with dementia to orient themselves with the date, while setting up reminder timers can be helpful for everyday tasks and especially for medication. Handrails near the bath, shower and toilet are another way to improve independence for the elderly living at home.
Arrange a regular games night
While this might seem like an unusual suggestion at first, participating in various games, puzzles and brain challenges can exercise the different parts of the brain. This can actually help to offset the affects of dementia.
It’s also a fun way to bring people together and enjoy some quality time together. Unsure of what games to play and need ideas? Check out our suggestions for a few games for seniors.
Get a helping hand
It can take some time to integrate these tips and form a more comfortable routine or lifestyle for your loved one. Sometimes, having a helping hand around the house can make all the difference!
If you don't need or want a nurse, consider hiring an aged care support worker. They can help your loved one maintain independence via activities like preparing meals, doing the laundry, providing a lift to doctor's appointments, and other errands. They'll even enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with you afterwards!
Access quality dementia support with Like Family
Like Family offers an aged care alternative that means your family member can receive the support they need in the comfort of their own home. We put the choice and control of support in your hands, so you can choose a Social Carer (support worker) in your local area whose interests and skills match exactly what you need.
Our Social Carers are thoroughly vetted during our onboarding process to ensure their values and attitudes meet our standards. Plus, if you have found a Social Carer that both you and you loved one are happy with, you can choose to hire that same Social Carer regularly – no need to repeat the same instructions over again to a new face each week!
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