As an older adult, or the loved one of an older adult, it is important to know certain signs and red flags concerning prevalent diseases. For many seniors, dementia is a great concern. Studies show that it is a valid source of anxiety among seniors over the age of 65. According to the Alzheimer’s Association study of 2017, 1 in 10 seniors over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s Disease; the number only increases when other types of dementia are included.
In the popular understanding of dementia, people with dementia can’t safely live alone. They don’t recognize their loved ones and might barely even know themselves. This portrayal is a simplistic picture of a complex collection of diseases. Dementia is a slow and unpredictable illness. It doesn’t always manifest as cognitive issues. For example, the key symptom of a dementia called primary progressive aphasia is a loss of the ability to speak, frontotemporal dementia might manifest as behavioral changes, and Alzheimer’s may progress slowly for many years.
For decades—and even longer—dementia was associated with a diminished quality of life. We now know that is simply not the case: Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can live interesting, interactive, purposeful lives. The activities they enjoy might change because of their condition, but that doesn’t mean they are resigned to boredom, day after day. Here are seven engaging activities for seniors with dementia:
Life can be stressful. Busy jobs, financial woes, family obligations, the ups and downs of married life, and so much more mean the reality is that few of us make it to old age without facing a heaping pile of stress.
There’s a common misconception that people with dementia can’t maintain meaningful relationships. But 80 percent of people with dementia can effectively communicate, and approximately one-third of them can make important decisions, one study found. The best books on dementia break down barriers and provide helpful strategies to make those types of meaningful engagements possible.
The progression of dementia impacts everyone differently. The progression of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, can span anywhere from several months to several decades. That’s why memory care decisions must be guided by the unique experiences and needs of you or your loved one.
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or another dementia can be devastating. It almost always feels shocking, even if some of the initial signs were there. During your subsequent visits to your geriatrician or neurologist, it is important to keep a level head by asking important questions that can help you to guide the future care of your loved one. Here are a few questions that you should consider asking, along with what to do with the answers.
There are a number of challenges that come with caring for someone who has dementia. While you might expect some of those challenges, such as forgetfulness or confusion, you may find a few challenges are not ones you anticipated. Dietary changes and nutritional adaptations are sometimes an unexpected part of the dementia process. People with dementia can experience a wide range of issues around food: some will eat less, some will lose the ability to navigate silverware or some may find a dining room environment too distracting. No matter the case, keeping healthy nutrition for those with dementia is especially important. Proper nutrition can assist with healing, potential skin issues, and other chronic conditions.
Navigating the senior living industry can feel a bit overwhelming at first. At first glance, there are so many options for care and your loved one will likely need more care as they age. If you are seeking living options for a loved one with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or other another type of dementia, memory care living is often the best case scenario. However, assisted living communities can often seem appealing as well, especially if extra services are available to keep your loved one engaged and safe. How can you tell which option is the best for you? Check out these differences between memory care and assisted living communities.