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Understanding Dementia and Learning How You Can Help Those Living with It

We aren’t born knowing how to communicate with a person living with dementia — but we can learn. Caring for a person who is living with dementia poses many challenges for families. People living with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s and related diseases have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and take care of themselves.

In addition, dementia can cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality and how they may interact. Improving your communication skills and learning the early signs of dementia can help make caregiving less stressful, as well as likely improve the quality of your relationship with your family member. Here are a few things you can do to help understand dementia and what your family members are experiencing.

  1. Recognize the symptoms.
    You can often recognize the early symptoms if a family member is struggling to participate in or complete everyday activities — such as paying bills, using terms of endearment instead of specific names, changes in their vision, isolating themselves or refusing to leave their homes.
  2. Understanding what you don’t know.
    As cliché as this sounds, trying to understand what your family members are going through is an important part of providing them with the best care possible. It’s also beneficial to learn how to communicate with them in ways that are supportive, understanding and empathetic.
  3. Sign-up for a Dementia Education virtual seminar.
    Free e-learning workshops through the Alzheimer’s Association are available at https://training.alz.org/. Additionally, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network is offering a free series of virtual seminars to help educate the local community on how to provide care for those living with dementia. To learn more, visit www.srcare.org/dementia-education.

As a Dementia Care Center of Excellence, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network is committed to sharing its deep expertise to provide educational support that can improve dementia care, particularly for persons being cared for in their home by family members. To learn about services available to family caregivers, visit www.PSCNDementia360.org.



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