Women with husbands who develop dementia are often left thinking, “My husband has dementia. How do I cope?” It can be tough caring for your spouse, let alone knowing how to deal with someone with dementia.
If you find yourself caring for an elderly spouse with dementia and aren’t sure what to do, you’re in the right place.
We desire that you never get to the point of thinking, “My husband has dementia and I hate him.” Instead, we want to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to care for your loved one without overwhelming stress and frustration.
In this article, we’re sharing expert tips on living with someone with dementia well. We’ll also tell you how to get professional in-home help.
Keep reading to learn all about how to cope with a spouse with dementia and how to get hands-on assistance when your spouse has dementia.
How to Deal with Someone with Dementia
Dementia is a degenerative brain disease that initially causes cognitive and physical decline. Its effects are progressive, meaning dementia symptoms get worse over time. Dementia currently affects nearly five million Americans, with that number expected to rise as the population ages.
When your spouse has dementia, you may not know how to cope with the diagnosis or care for them or yourself well. Here are four tips for how to support someone with dementia.
1. Prepare Well
The first step to handling dementia well is to prepare. Good preparation involves learning about the disease and readying your home.
Learning About Dementia
One piece of preparation is learning about the disease and talking with professionals. To prepare well, you can:
- Talk with a medical doctor or neurologist
- Read articles or resources on dementia
- Connect with family or friends who have dealt with dementia
Doing these things can help you better understand the disease and know what to expect in the coming months.
Household preparation is also essential when caring for your spouse with dementia. Preparation in the home may include:
- Purchasing duplicates of everyday household items
- Creating and displaying a daily or weekly calendar of events
- Cleaning the house of clutter and installing safety features
These are just a few ideas, but the goal is to make the home as safe and stress-free as possible for you and your spouse.
2. Stay Healthy
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also crucial for you and your spouse with dementia. Not only is it a way to promote longer life, but it’s also something that you can do together.
A healthy lifestyle often involves activities such as:
- Eating healthy foods
- Exercising regularly
- Engaging in social activities
- Forming good sleep habits
- Attending medical and dental visits
If you’ve always practiced healthy habits, continue to engage in them regularly. Otherwise, it’s best to start with one or two of these at a time and work your way toward others.
3. Encourage Independent Living
When your spouse has dementia, it’s a great idea to keep encouraging them to perform daily life activities independently. An essential aspect of daily living is creating and sticking to a routine.
Your spouse may need simple reminders about what to do, but try forming a daily routine. Creating a daily and weekly schedule of activities is also a great way to stay organized. You may not finish every action on the list, but thinking and working through similar activities each day can promote mental health.
Eventually, your loved one with dementia may be unable to perform simple tasks on their own. Until then, you can help promote independent living through a daily routine.
4. Seek Help
We’ve listed “seek help” last, but it’s probably the most important tip of them all.
Even before dementia progresses, exhaustion or burnout can quickly become a reality when living with someone with dementia. One of the best things you can do is reach out to others for help.
The help you need caring for your spouse could come from:
- Children or other family members
These individuals may not be able to help every day, but you might be surprised by how willing they are to provide occasional assistance.
Additionally, a powerful form of dementia spouse support is professional in-home care. In-home care provides those dealing with an aging spouse with hands-on assistance and support. If you’ve been thinking, “My husband has dementia, how do I cope?” in-home care might be the solution for you.
Keep reading to learn more about the different in-home dementia care options available.
Getting Help with Dementia Care
Dementia is a progressive disease that worsens over time. In the early stages, spouses can often provide the necessary care. As a spousal caregiver, some things you can do to better cope with dementia care are:
- Prepare well
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
- Encourage independent living
- Ask for help
When the pressures of caregiving become too much for you, one of the best resources for Alzheimer’s spouse support is in-home care.
At Stowell Associates, We have 38 years of experience in the eldercare industry. Our trained Care Managers and Caregivers know how to deal with someone with dementia. If your spouse has dementia and you don’t know how to handle a loved one with dementia, Stowell Associates offers three in-home care services that could benefit you.
1. Care Coaching
Care coaching is a remote service available to anyone from anywhere in the country. It’s for family caregivers who desire to provide care for their loved ones but aren’t sure how to do it.
Care coaching provides you access to a master’s-level social worker who specializes in elderly dementia care. Every month, you have the opportunity to talk with your care coach for 75 minutes. During the call, your coach will:
- Connect personally with you
- Ask some questions to assess your situation
- Answer any of your questions
- Give you expert tips and advice on caregiving
- Help you create a care plan
The goal of care coaching is to empower you to improve your loved one’s safety, enhance their quality of life, and ease your burden.
2. Respite Care
Respite care offers spousal caregivers short-term relief from caregiving. With respite care, a caregiver will come to your home to provide hands-on assistance for your loved one.
A respite caregiver can:
- Assist with activities of daily living
- Provide transportation to and from appointments/events
- Act as a companion to your loved one
While the respite caregiver is spending time with your loved one, you’ll have time and space to yourself. You can use this free time for personal care, rest, or accomplishing individual tasks.
Respite care is a valuable resource for spouses with a loved one in the early stages of dementia.
3. 24-hour Dementia Care
In the later stages of dementia, your spouse may need full-time care. 24-hour dementia care is an excellent way to ensure your loved one has assistance during the day and night.
With full-time dementia care, a caregiver will come during the daytime hours to help your spouse with daily activities. Another caregiver will arrive at night to assist with anything your loved one may need during nighttime hours. Full-time caregivers aren’t allowed to sleep on the job, so your spouse always has access to hands-on help.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor. They’re ready to speak with you, answer your questions, and help you understand the care that’s best for your loved one.