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Cognitive decline: How home care can help

Felicia Horton

Special to the Village News

As families watch their loved ones age, they naturally become more attuned to the changes that come with the process. One of the most concerning issues is the possibility of memory and thinking problems. It can be challenging for the person to learn new things, concentrate or make decisions that affect their daily life. Unfortunately, dementia and Alzheimer's disease are the most common causes of cognitive impairment among older people. Families should be aware of the signs and symptoms of these conditions so that they can take the appropriate steps to help their loved ones maintain their quality of life.

It's common for older adults to experience a decline in cognitive abilities, leading to various challenges and difficulties. Fortunately, mental care is available to provide specialized support and assistance to older adults struggling with cognitive impairments like dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Through cognitive care, older adults can receive the help they need to maintain their cognitive abilities, promote mental well-being and live in a safe and nurturing environment.

Cognitive impairments can significantly impact an older adult's daily life, relationships and well-being. That's why mental care is crucial in enhancing cognitive function, providing emotional support and ensuring safety by tailoring interventions and activities to individual needs. Cognitive care helps older adults maintain and improve their cognitive abilities, memory and problem-solving skills. Cognitive care professionals also offer emotional support, creating a calm and reassuring environment that promotes mental well-being. Additionally, cognitive care includes measures to ensure the safety of seniors with cognitive impairments, from fall prevention strategies to medication management and supervision.

In-home caregivers are trained to assist with physical exercise, mental workouts, planning a brain-boosting diet and other activities that can help support memory retention and cognitive functions. But equally important is their companionship and friendship, which can provide emotional support and help older adults feel more connected and engaged. Basic cognitive care techniques may require special preparation, such as improving diet, exercising and getting more mental stimulation. In-home caregivers will work these into an older adult's daily life along with other resources. With the proper care and support, older adults with cognitive impairments can continue to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

One of the most significant advantages of in-home care is that it allows older adults to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, which may be less disorienting for someone with dementia than a move to an assisted living facility, a memory care unit, or a nursing home.

Caring for a person with cognitive impairment can be challenging as families encounter communication difficulties, repetition, aggressive or impulsive actions, paranoia, memory problems, incontinence, poor judgment and wandering. It's essential to remember that the illness, not the person, causes these behaviors. Patience, compassion and a sense of humor help families cope with these challenging behaviors.

Try employing these helpful tips for managing these issues. Use communication techniques like speaking in simple language and asking one question at a time. Break down tasks and questions into simple statements. Allow time for the person to respond to each question and request.

If you notice wandering or poor judgment, it may be necessary to provide 24-hour supervision. Create a home safety checklist and know who to contact in an emergency. If walking or aggressive behaviors are a concern, don't hesitate to contact emergency, police, fire or medical systems.

Home care can be an excellent option for older adults who want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. It can help them feel more comfortable and less confused. Caregivers can monitor symptoms, ensure patients take their medication and encourage them to stay active. The most important thing to look for in any in-home care agency must be the safety and happiness of their patients.

 

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