If you are suffering from dementia it can be hard to manage life, but in the early stages, there are ways to care for yourself, especially if you are dealing with mixed or vascular dementia. Here are a few things you need to understand.
- Maintaining your physical health is important. Staying active is good for your physical health and mental wellbeing. Discuss which kind of exercise best suits your current state of health with your medical professional. Focus too, on eating a healthy balanced diet and try to engage in mentally stimulating activities such as debates, quizzes, and crosswords or playing or listening to music.
- Your psychological health matters too. Allow yourself to experience the many different emotions surrounding your diagnosis. Don’t try to label them good or bad. They are part of the process of coming to terms. Many people living with dementia find comfort in sharing their experiences in a support group. It’s where you can pick up useful tips to help you stay on top of things and knowing you are not on your own is a great motivator.
- Learn to handle stress better. Stress and frustration come hand in hand and learning to recognize and handle these and other strong emotions will help you live better with dementia. Work on identifying triggers as soon as you can and adopt strategies such as counting to calm yourself down.
- You need friends and family around. It really helps to have someone close you can trust and confide in. These are the people you can be yourself around so enjoy it even if these days, things don’t always go to plan.
- A calm environment keeps you calm. As your senses become more sensitive, a calm environment is essential. Outside, the chaos of traffic, crowds, bright lights and loud music can create confusion so staying away is obvious although there are ways to deal with noise sensitivity such as using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. At home, installing double-glazing, thick rugs and lined curtains with lamps and lights on dimmers is less taxing on the senses.
- Your healthcare provider will help you set realistic goals. Most often people carry on as before and symptoms are an inconvenience they learn to workaround. Dementia does not progress according to a set timetable and it’s usual for sufferers to not be fully aware of all the symptoms they are presenting. It’s useful to have someone go with you to consultations to fill in the details and add a better perspective so your doctor can come up with a realistic care plan.
Even in the 21st century, the causes of dementia are unknown. However, as the number of diagnoses continues to increase worldwide, how best to help people with dementia stay independent for longer is better understood. These days, people with dementia find it’s not only possible to function but with forethought and planning for the early stages, they can even function well.