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Coping with Wandering and Exit Seeking in Dementia Patients – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

People with Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia, often exhibit symptoms of the disorder that are known as wandering or exit seeking behaviors. What is Wandering?   Anyone with memory issues, but is still mobile enough to get around on their own, can be prone to wandering. The term wandering makes it sound like an aimless act, but this is often not the case. Wandering can be caused by confusion or disorientation, but sometimes wandering is just the person’s way of showing others they are still capable of independent activity. Whatever the reason may be for your loved one wandering, it can be very dangerous if not properly monitored and managed. Early Warning Signs of Wandering It is helpful to know the telltale signs of the early stages of wandering so it can be handled before it gets out of control. Some signs to look out for, may include: Taking longer than usual on routine walks or errands Problems with navigation in familiar areas Restless, anxious, nervous, or repetitive behavior Retired people may talk about having to get to work Talk about visiting deceased friends or family like they are still alive Says “I want to go home”, even when at home Trouble remembering where various rooms are in the house Tries to perform daily tasks and routines, but nothing gets done These are symptoms that are generally associated with early stages of dementia, wandering behaviors are frequently soon to follow. How to Prevent Wandering in Dementia Patients If you find your loved one is beginning to wander, and you are concerned for their safety, there are a few...
When a Loved One Refuses to Accept They Have Dementia – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

When a Loved One Refuses to Accept They Have Dementia – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

It can be incredibly frustrating when your parent or partner is denying that they have a dementia diagnosis. We want to help them get the right care and create a plan for the future but when they refuse to acknowledge it we can’t help. We have to understand that this is common; people are not always comfortable admitting that they have a condition that they have recently been diagnosed with. There are two primary reasons that our loved ones will deny that they have dementia; fear and anosognosia. Fear Many people are terrified of a dementia diagnosis, and with good reason. Can you imagine being told your brain is in decline and you will lose the ability to remember those around you? That you will lose the ability to be in control of your life? When we’re afraid of our diagnosis we can find comfort in denial and avoidance. Denial is a coping mechanism that can bring comfort and keep fear at arms reach. Admitting that you have dementia makes it real, and some of our aging loved ones are not ready to live that reality yet. Anosognosia What is anosognosia? Anosognosia is the inability to recognize an illness or disorder that is clinically evident. Dementia can cause damage to the brain, and your loved one may not know or have the capability to understand that they have dementia. When our loved one has anosognosia they literally cannot understand that they have dementia. It isn’t stubbornness or denial; they lack the understanding, awareness, and acceptance that they have the condition. How to Work With (and Around) Dementia Denial Getting...
Help! My Family Is Denying Our Loved One Has Dementia – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

Help! My Family Is Denying Our Loved One Has Dementia – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

Sometimes the person with dementia isn’t the only one in denial – other friends and family members may deny it too, especially early on when the signs are less frequent. There are many reasons that people will deny a dementia diagnosis. Some of those reasons are: They don’t want to see their loved one’s health deteriorate and are hoping that the problem will just go away They are afraid of the stress and time that caregiving takes, and denying the illness allows them to avoid taking on the caregiving role and responsibilities They rely on their loved one for strength and support, and aren’t ready to have those roles shift They don’t see them regularly, and aren’t around enough to recognize that their loved one’s health is in decline Whatever the reasons are, the sooner we can get everyone on the same page the better it will be for your loved one. What can we do to help our family members accept that our loved one has dementia? Have a family meeting. After getting a formal diagnosis have a family meeting. You can take this time to explain the situation to close friends and family. Be positive about starting early, as early diagnosis will allow you to take advantage of therapies and medications that may slow the progression of the disease. Take this opportunity to bring educational materials and references such as leaflets or website pages’ people can refer to. The person with dementia may or may not want to be at the meeting. Discuss the implications of denial. It’s vital that everyone understand that denying dementia can be...
3 Tips to Help Include Loved Ones with Dementia in Family Gatherings – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

3 Tips to Help Include Loved Ones with Dementia in Family Gatherings – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

We want to include our loved ones in family gatherings for as long as possible. Those with dementia still enjoy being social, and the joy of being at the event will hold on even after the visit is forgotten. Dementia can change the behaviour and personality of the person suffering with it, but there are ways we can continue to include them. Here are three recommended tips on how to include your loved ones with dementia: Let your family know how to act As a caregiver, you can help your family members understand how to interact with your loved one. Many family members worry and don’t know how to talk to a person with dementia. Here are some things you can let your family know in advance:         Don’t be upset if the loved one doesn’t know who you are. Introduce yourself by your name and your relationship with them.         Don’t argue or correct them – if your loved one thinks you’re their sister, just go with it.         Your loved one may repeat themselves, and that’s okay. Don’t say “I just told you”, or “don’t you remember”. That can confuse them and make them upset.         If you become uncomfortable talking to them it’s okay to excuse yourself and walk away. You can stay close to your loved one and help facilitate conversations with family members. Your loved one may become confused or agitated with people coming and going; remaining by their side will allow them to have a constant, reassuring presence. Scheduling is important We want to schedule our gathering at a time of day that is best for your...
5 Ways to Help when a Loved One with Dementia is Refusing Care – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

5 Ways to Help when a Loved One with Dementia is Refusing Care – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

A parent refusing help is an incredibly frustrating experience. Layer on a parent with symptoms of dementia and the worries will skyrocket. It is important that we understand the 2 main reasons why our spouse or parent is refusing care and denying dementia – anosognosia and fear. Anosognosia is the inability to recognize an illness or disorder that is clinically evident. As the brain changes due to the damage associated with dementia your parent may literally not know or have the capability to understand that they have dementia. Another reason is dementia is scary! Denial is a coping mechanism that can bring comfort and keep fear at arms reach. Can you imagine being told your brain is in decline and you will lose the ability to remember those around you? Admitting that you have dementia makes it real, and some of our aging loved ones are ready to live that reality yet. It doesn’t really matter why they are refusing help – although it can help us be more understanding. Whether it is because of fear or anosognosia, our loved one is refusing help. Here are 5 strategies experts recommend to help you approach the situation:   Expert advice can help. Sometimes our parents won’t believe something unless it comes from a professional. Getting help from doctors, social workers, or even priests or ministers, can help smooth out the difficulties you face when your loved one is refusing caregiving services. An expert can explain to them how different therapies will benefit them. Professionals have a lot more experience than we do, and they are able to give the right...

Roundup: Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge

When learning more about Alzheimer’s and Dementia, there is so much information to sift through. This post is intended to help you find articles and resources to guide your research and exploration of matters related to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Our Articles Over the past few years, we have written numerous articles that touch on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and the ways in which the lives of both seniors and their caregivers can be affected by the many challenges that accompany these conditions. The following are some of those articles:  Early Stages: Early Indicators of Alzheimer’s The Process of Diagnosing Alzheimer’s  Tips and Support Strategies: Strategies for Communicating with Seniors with Dementia How Assistance Dogs Can Support Seniors (A section of this article is specifically about Alzheimer’s and Dementia  Alternative Therapies: The Power of Music for Seniors with Alzheimer’s  Tactile Stimulation for Seniors with Dementia  Other Resources When it comes to looking for further resources, the internet can seem like an overwhelming and disorienting place. There is so much great information out there, but sifting through to find it can feel challenging. The following are some great resources that offer information about Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Alzheimer’s Society of Canada Alzheimer’s Association Government of Canada – Dementia Info  Baycrest Caregiver Guide  Region of Waterloo Dementia Services Dealing with the realities of Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be truly challenging, but there are always resources, professionals, and people who can be there to provide help and support through all the stages. Retire-At-Home provides customized care to seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.   Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a Nurse...
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