Around the world, about 55 million people are living with dementia. This number is expected to double by the year 2050.1 Dementia is the symptoms that come from memory loss and everyday thinking skills. Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up about 60-80% of dementia cases, is when there are abnormal changes in the brain, leading to dementia symptoms. This affects decision-making and thinking skills that can greatly affect a person’s everyday life and independence. This disease affects not only those individuals living with it, but the people who have to care for them. Adjusting the way you speak to or care for a person with dementia can make all the difference.2 Listed below are a few ways to do this.
- Give off positive body language and attitude. Touching, smiling, and tone of voice can make the individual know that the environment is comfortable and safe.
- Ask simple questions. Asking yes or no questions as opposed to open-ended questions make it easier for the individual to respond and engage in conversation.
- Eliminate steps that the individual would take before they leave the house. Hiding their keys or coat, installing a new lock on the door, or putting a sign that says “stop” on the door could signal to the person they should not be leaving the house.
- Alert the neighbors of the individuals wandering behavior and put a bracelet with ID information on their wrist. This way, if wandering does happen, they have a greater chance of getting home safely.
- Create a relaxing environment where there is soothing music, not too many people, and minimal noise.
- If the person gets upset, let them know they feel heard, and their frustration is understandable. Keep familiar items, such as memorabilia to distract or comfort the person.
Make Proper Nutrition Essential
- Since individuals with dementia often forget to eat, make mealtime more often. Having six smaller meals instead of three big meals can help remind them that eating is an important part of their daily routine.
- Make mealtime special by eating with the individual and engaging in pleasant conversation instead of eating in front of the TV, which can be distracting.3
These little steps that you as a caregiver or loved one can take can make someone living with dementia feel more comfortable in their everyday life. For more information on dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and caregiving tips, visit The Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
Hillary grew up being active her whole life. After playing many sports, she settled on volleyball and softball, which she played through college at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Concordia, she earned a double major in exercise science and nutrition. After she moved to the MN twin cities area after college, she earned her certified personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine along with a certified strength and conditioning coach through USA weightlifting. She found passion in motivating people to reach their goals by finding a personalized nutrition and exercise plan that worked best for them. She has worked with clients 1-on-1, as well as small group classes. She looks forward to continuing to grow her knowledge base and help people achieve their health and wellness goals through Live Your Life!
In her spare time, Hillary can usually be found at the gym, playing volleyball, or coaching softball. During the summer, she participates in many sand volleyball leagues and tournaments. She enjoys Minnesota summer activities, such as rollerblading, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. She loves playing board games with her friends and family and trying any new recipe she can find.
1“ADI – Dementia Facts & Figures.” Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), www.alzint.org/about/dementia-facts-figures/.
2“Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease: What Is the Difference?” Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/difference-between-dementia-and-alzheimers.
3 “Caregiver’s Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors.” Caregiver’s Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors – Family Caregiver Alliance, www.caregiver.org/resource/caregivers-guide-understanding-dementia-behaviors/.