If you think you have a parent or a loved one who’s showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s, they’ll require different care and attention than someone suffering from the normal effects of the aging process. Proper care can not only enhance the quality of life but also, in some cases, slow the progression of either condition. If you find yourself facing this type of situation, here are five helpful tips that might help you on what could be a difficult journey.
1. Good Food
While there have been no studies proving that a healthy diet can stave off diseases of the mind like Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can help avoid other medical issues that could compound your loved one’s suffering. It’s more than likely they’ll cease to be able to make the healthiest decisions when it comes to food and drink. If you’re there to help with shopping and preparing nutritious food, that will go a long way toward preventing other health issues that arise with old age.
2. Stress Avoidance
It’s important to note that one of the body’s reactions when entering a stressful situation is the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical that’s been shown to harm the brain cells that handle a person’s memory. Try helping your loved cultivate new strategies to combat stress. Meditation and low-impact exercise like yoga can directly improve the body’s response to stress. Even just cultivating an exercise routine on its own will have a positive impact on the body’s cortisol levels by simply regulating them.
3. Physical Activity
Making sure your loved one stays physically active has a host of benefits. Not only can it stave off other effects of old age like having good nutrition can, exercise is also useful in combatting depression and energy loss. Again, like nutrition, it can also help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Beyond that, if your loved one has access to an exercise group or an active community, they’ll start to develop a system of support beyond their family members.
4. Mental Activity
One of the best ways to combat the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s is to engage in mental exercises that keep the mind sharp. These can include anything and everything from logic puzzles, crosswords, or even challenging board games. Doing these kinds of things with your loved one will not only help them decrease their chances of further mental illness, they also provide activities you can do together.
5. Start Early
Caring for an elderly parent or loved one isn’t necessarily something anyone wants to think about too much. However, if you notice your family member starting to show signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is never too early to start thinking about a care plan. You’ll need to decide what duties will fall to which person if you have siblings or cousins willing to help. You’ll also need to figure out how much everything will cost. It’s possible your loved one will require in-home senior care services or possibly a different home if it becomes clear they can no longer live on their own.