Daily Tasks that Overwhelm the Dementia Patient

When caring for someone with dementia, you may begin to see that daily tasks become overwhelming as the dementia becomes more severe.  There are a few things to watch out for in this area.

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As you notice these daily tasks becoming harder, it’s a good indication of the progression of illness that you can share with your loved one’s medical provider.  It’s also an indicator that it’s time to provide some assistance.

One of the first things you may notice is that a person with dementia has a hard time caring for his environment.  Tasks such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming the carpet become more and more difficult.

With memory loss one may just forget to do it.  But dementia also causes an inability to concentrate and may make it difficult for someone to start and complete a household task.  When you start to see these things slip, you can offer assistance.

It’s important to create a plan that is helpful but also helps the dementia patient maintain dignity and independence.  For example, you might help with or hire someone to help with tasks such as vacuuming and lawn care but the dementia patient can help with dusting or folding clothes.

Meal preparation is another daily task that can become overwhelming.  It includes meal planning, grocery shopping, and making meals.  As a caregiver you can help with the larger tasks of meal planning and shopping. 

But it is helpful for dementia patients to be involved with prepping and cooking food as much as possible.  They will be able to maintain a sense of independence but also be interested in eating – something that can be difficult as dementia advances.  Of course it’s important to supervise a dementia patient in more advanced stages with any dangerous tasks such as cutting, using the stove, or handling glass objects.

Driving is another daily tasks that we often take for granted, but it can be difficult and dangerous for someone with advanced dementia.  According to a statistic from the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 people diagnosed with dementia continues to drive.

While in cases of mild dementia it can be possible to continue driving, more advanced stages make it dangerous.  As a caregiver it’s important to pay attention to a dementia patient’s ability to problem solve, multi-task, and recall locations. 

When it comes to driving and dementia, there’s the risk of accidents but there is also a risk of becoming lost.  In a study published in the American Journal of Physical Therapy in 2010, researchers reported that in a study of 207 lost drivers with dementia over a 10 year period, 70 drivers were never found, 32 drivers were found dead, 116 drivers were found alive – but of those 35 were found injured. As a caregiver, you must insist on your patient being evaluated before driving.

Tony

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