Ways to Keep Tabs on Loved One With Dementia?
One is not alone if they are worried about a loved one with dementia. According to data, there are over 50,000 people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia in Ontario alone. There's no cure for the disease, and the symptoms often progress over time. One can help their loved ones cope with their condition by learning about it, communicating effectively, and ensuring they get the proper care at home.
Create a Daily Schedule and Follow It
Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older today. If someone's parent is one of the victims, they must have a strategy. Creating a daily schedule can improve not only the quality of life of their loved ones but also theirs. When creating a daily routine, one should focus on activities that will be beneficial in three ways: reduce stress, boost memory and help with anxiety.
A good example would be taking walks together every morning or going to lunch at their favorite restaurant once a week with friends, as this can quickly become an enjoyable event. These activities occur outside the home, so there's less confusion or anxiety when trying to find familiar areas inside your house, such as bedrooms or bathrooms.
Leverage the Mental Health Electronic Records
It’s no secret that adopting electronic medical records has become a widespread trend in healthcare. Although this is generally good news for patients, it can also make it easier for the caregiver to keep tabs on the patients with dementia. Electronic health records (EHRs) are more accurate than paper ones and can be accessed anywhere, anytime, especially if their loved one travels often or lives far away.
Electronic health records can also be shared with other care providers, which means your family doctor will have a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s condition at all times. Mental health EHR allows better coordination between doctors and everyone to reflect on treatment plans before making changes or adjustments as necessary.
Use a Log to Keep Track of Changes
Behavior problems affect 30% to 90% of people living with dementia. As a result, it is critical to keep a record of everything. One can use a log to keep track of changes, write down the date and time of changes, what happened that day and how it made you feel. This will help them remember which triggers led to certain behaviors to avoid these situations in the future.
Suppose the loved one has an episode where they become aggressive or wanders off on their own. In that case, one should write down why it happened so that when this happens again in the future, which it probably will, they can recognize what triggered those behaviors before they occur again.
Make Medications Easier to Manage
Each year, in the United States alone, 7,000 to 9,000 people die due to a medication error. It's easy for loved ones with memory loss and dementia to forget a pill or not take it at the right time. To help keep track of medications:
- One must use a pill box or other container with compartments for each day of the week that can be carried around easily. The container should also have an alarm feature to remind one when it's time for their loved one's medicine.
- One should use labeled bags instead of bottles if possible because once opened, they're more difficult for those with memory loss and dementia to identify which bottle contains which medication and how many pills go in each.
- If possible, one should use an app on their phone or tablet that reminds them when it's time to take their medication and even allows them to set reminders based on what type of dosage schedule works best for their needs, e.g., daily versus twice daily.
Use a Whiteboard or Dry-erase Board to Communicate Information
When it comes to keeping tabs on the loved one with dementia, there are several things one can do. These include using a whiteboard or dry-erase board to communicate information, using a schedule to keep track of daily activities, and designating one person as the primary caretaker.
Other ways include making medications easier to manage and being observant of changes in behavior. According to a recent survey, most families reported feeling “helpless” when caring for their loved ones with dementia. They said they needed more guidance on how best to help them cope with their condition.
Designate One Person as the Primary Caretaker
One of the most important things you can do to help your loved one with dementia is designate one person as the primary caretaker. This person should be the one who makes sure the loved one gets their medications, goes to appointments on time, and helps them with daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Having this responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly. It requires a great deal of organization and dedication but knowing that someone is keeping tabs on all aspects of their health can ease your mind immensely.
The rate at which dementia progresses varies from person to person. However, even if it doesn't progress very quickly, one will still want to make sure that someone who lives with them knows how best to work around their condition so that they can live independently for as long as possible or until they choose otherwise.
It can be hard to know what to do when our loved ones with dementia slip away. It's easy to get frustrated, and it's tempting to give up on them, but there are ways one can keep tabs on them without making them feel trapped or controlled.
Remember that even though they may seem like a different person now with dementia, they're still the same person who loved us before they were diagnosed. They just have another way of showing it because of their disease, so one must try not to take it personally if they don't recognize themselves or act like themselves anymore. They're still trying their best even though things might look different than before.