Dementia is common, with one in three people born in the UK this year expected to develop it during their lifetime.
There are several forms of dementia, but all of them are progressive. Dementia progresses at varying rates which often differ from person to person, so care needs likewise vary.
Here, we’ll investigate what dementia care involves.
The different stages of dementia
Dementia progresses through several stages. Medical experts typically describe seven key stages:
- Normal behaviour
- Mild decline
- Moderate decline
- Moderately severe decline
- Severe decline
- Very severe decline
Care varies depending on the severity of dementia, with earlier stages focusing on memory loss support, talking therapies and other therapeutic activities like exercise and socialisation.
As dementia progresses, care focuses on challenging aspects of day-to-day life, such as personal care, hygiene and eating.
The progression of dementia can vary greatly. Some people living with dementia can spend years living a relatively normal life, whereas, for others, it progresses rapidly. It’s essential to understand that people experience dementia in different ways – there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dementia care.
Understanding people with dementia
The first and most important step in providing dementia care is understanding the individual’s needs and abilities.
This includes understanding their cognitive and physical strengths and limitations, as well as their mental and emotional state. Caregivers should also be familiar with the persons medical history and any medications they may be taking.
Dementia care also involves providing safety and supervision for individuals with dementia who may be prone to wandering and other behaviours that put them at risk of harm. Dementia is complex, and rapid or unpredictable changes to an individual’s behaviour should be met with the appropriate intervention.
In the early stages of dementia, mental stimulation can provide enormous benefits and can slow the progression of symptoms.
Early dementia care includes helping people develop strategies for managing their own needs, such as organising their belongings and managing their medication.
Exercise, socialisation and talking therapies also have proven benefits.
Dementia care involves providing support to individuals in order to maintain their physical and emotional well-being.
This includes helping individuals with activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, and going to the toilet, as well as providing companionship and emotional support. In the early stages of dementia, most can carry out their daily personal care tasks as normal, but in the latter stages, they’ll likely require more assistance.
Dementia treatment and support have come a long way in recent years, and there are many reasons to be optimistic.
Carers have a huge impact on those living with dementia. If you’re interested in working in care and helping those living with dementia, contact us today.