An estimated 564,000 people in Canada live with dementia. Seniors are the most at-risk group, with more than 97% of cases affecting Canadians over the age of 65. As a cognitive disorder, one of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory loss. Dementia is progressive, meaning memory loss and other symptoms gradually worsen over time. What starts as forgetfulness with names and dates will begin to disrupt daily life. These simple reminders around the house can help with forgetfulness:
Make use of the simple but effective Post-It note. Leave notes around the house, like “feed the dog” in the kitchen, “wash your hands” in the bathroom, or “take your medication” on the fridge. Sticky notes can be helpful with little things that are harder for a person with dementia to memorize, such as television channels or phone numbers. However, be cognizant that sticky notes can be removed once the task is complete. Therefore, you might need to leave multiple sticky notes for the same task.
Whiteboards make a great tool for people with dementia. Family members can write down important things on a whiteboard such as upcoming birthdays and upcoming plans. For instance, your loved one may be happy to look at the board and see that their sister is coming into town next weekend, an event they would otherwise forget. Write today’s date, the caregiver’s name and name of any expected guests, and any other pertinent details.
Preset alarms are a great way to ensure you are reminded of when to take medications. Some modern pillboxes even include built-in alarms, or you can set up an alarm on a clock or smartphone.
Taking medication according to the prescribed schedule and dosage is very important. Forgetting to take medications or repeating dosages by mistake are both equally concerning and may have health repercussions. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s condition, it may be helpful to have a caregiver assist with medication reminders, opening bottles, and reading labels. With nurse-managed dementia care, your loved one will by assisted with administering medication and the care team will coordinate with your loved one’s physician to ensure optimal care. Having a competent nurse-managed caregiver that can alert you when prescriptions need to be filled is a helpful service.
Dementia is an ongoing battle that can be disruptive to daily routines. Facing the facts of the disease early and setting out a game plan to help the patient and family cope is the best way to maintain the highest and safe level of independence and peace of mind. You can adjust the level of care as the dementia progresses to ensure your loved one is in the best of hands at all times. Contact Qualicare Family Homecare at 613.366.2899 for a free Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia care consultation.