Advanced dementia will cause significant changes to a person’s cognitive function, mobility, appetite, and communication skills. Unfortunately, they might struggle to articulate their needs, find it increasingly difficult to walk, or become incontinent.
As hard as it is to watch a loved one’s health deteriorate, you can preserve their dignity and improve their comfort in many ways. Find out how to support a loved one with advanced dementia.
Consider Memory Care Services
As a loved one’s dementia progresses to the later stages, you might find it increasingly difficult to meet their needs at home. Consider memory care services at a reputable senior living facility if a relative or friend can no longer live alone and needs more professional support.
It will provide peace of mind that your loved one will live in a caring environment designed for those with one or more forms of dementia. Also, you can trust they will receive around-the-clock support from committed, caring, and specially trained caregivers. If you have little experience with a senior living facility, check them out to make an informed choice.
Use the Power of Touch
Don’t underestimate the power of touch when helping a person living with dementia. A warm hug, a tender hand massage, or a kiss on the cheek can provide a person with a human connection. Physical affection will make your loved one feel valued and seen, which may lift their mood. Remember, the most important thing you can do for a person with dementia is to make them feel loved and supported.
Play Familiar Music for Your Loved One
Playing music has proven to be helpful to people living with dementia. Song lyrics and music affect a different area of the brain to speech, providing comfort and happiness to those living with this cruel disease.
Listening to their favorite or familiar songs could improve your loved one’s quality of life, as it may prevent depression and anxiety and support speech and language. You might be surprised by the difference it makes to your friend or relative’s emotions and lucidity. Plus, it may help them form greater connections with their loved ones.
Make Mealtimes Much Easier
Mealtimes can prove a challenge for people living with advanced dementia. They might develop a poor appetite, swallowing difficulties, or dental problems, which may affect how much food they eat each day.
Help your loved one to stay healthy by making improvements to their mealtimes. For example, you could:
- Serve small meals throughout the day
- Thicken liquids to make them easier to swallow
- Visit a dentist to resolve their loose, cracked, or poor-fitting dentures
- Serve meals at the same time each day
- Offer soft foods, such as applesauce, yogurt, or mashed bananas
- Avoid using straws – encourage your loved one to take small sips
- Provide a mix of hot and cold drinks
If your loved one is struggling to eat, you must inform their doctor to identify the best solution to their eating problems.
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