One of the biggest mistakes that family and professional caregivers can make when caring for a person who has dementia is to assume that their personality and experiences have been wiped clean, essentially giving their life a clean slate; it has not. A senior who has dementia is still the same person at their core, even if they drift in and out of memories at times.
According to The Alzheimer’s Association, 6/10 people with Dementia will wander. Wandering is one of the least manageable and most emotionally draining behaviours that caregivers must address. You have a million tasks on your plate, and caring for an aging loved one is stressful enough without the worry that they will get lost when you look away. Even if a senior with dementia promises to you that they will not wander away, the sad reality is that they have no control over it. As the disease progresses, their memory and reasoning skills can be so affected that they become lost in familiar places and don’t think to ask for help.
Research has not been able to provide a definitive reason why people with dementia wander, and the main reasons could be related to the changes in their memory, but the tendency to wander is also linked to unmet needs and overstimulation.
You may have a loved one or know someone suffering from Alzheimer’s as there are 5.7 million Americans currently living with the disease. Alzheimer’s and other dementias have many unique challenges that can affect seniors in different ways such as sundowning. Sundowning is a symptom for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias that has multiple causes and displays differently for each individual. Sundowning can be alarming for the seniors who experience it, and for their families and caregivers who witness it happening.
This post will introduce you to a series of potential strategies you can use to decrease the magnitude of these challenges, offering suggestions to manage the symptoms of sundown syndrome to lessen the sense of apprehension that each day's sunset might be bringing you.
The various forms and types of dementia are terrible, debilitating conditions. Even worse, there is very little known about these conditions, so treatment and management options are, in many cases, very limited. Fortunately for dementia sufferers and their families, there is proof that music therapy can have a significant, positive impact on symptoms and quality of life.
As we are not equipped to automatically compensate for dementia, we can end up unconsciously sabotaging the relationship by having erroneous expectations of what communication should look like. When it fails to meet our expectations, we get frustrated, hurt, and even angry at the other individual, who lacks the ability to understand what has gone wrong. Yet connection with our loved ones is essential – for them and us.