Doctors explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment, along with tips on how you can help but this is not always enough.
We believe that every person affected by Dementia needs to have people around them that are patient, compassionate and can help to ease their frustration.
With a few simple tips from this blog and some practice, we hope that the families whose parents/grandparents struggle with the condition, can tackle it, guilt-free and happily.
Before we get to it, here’s some information about Dementia:
Dementia is not a disease. It is a condition or syndrome which affects the cognitive functions of those who have it. The person struggles to think, remember, reason, or make decisions, which interferes with their everyday lifestyle and activities. The symptoms depend on the stage and type of Dementia, varying from mild to severe.
Stay focused on what you want to convey and communicate using words that they are familiar with.
You can use shorter sentences and speak slightly slower than you usually would. At the same time, try not to be vague or use slang and figures of speech- describe actions directly.
Stay composed and give them time to respond. Asking them to speed up will result in them feeling pressured and can lead to frustration on both ends.
Most importantly, don’t talk too loudly. Not every person with Dementia has a hearing impairment and talking loudly may make them feel as though you are yelling at them.
Be Positive with your Body Language and in Your Tone of Voice
Non-verbal cues like eye contact and a warm smile convey that you are glad to be around them. They feel reassured and happy.
Use gentle touch while you’re talking to them to reassure them of your positive relationship with them. Watch their body language to see whether they are comfortable with you doing this.
No one likes to be ignored or feel isolated.
Include the person with Dementia in every group conversation to reduce feelings of isolation. They might understand more than you give them credit for.
Do Not Patronize/Infantilize the Person
Despite a person’s impaired ability to understand, we must ensure that we speak to them with dignity and respect. Use their names and preferred titles instead of using words like “honey,” “sweety”, or similar terms as it may come across as demeaning, even if you speak to them with affection.
If they’re sitting down, re-position yourself to be at their level to accommodate a more comfortable and respectful conversation.
How to teach children to communicate to a person with Dementia
Be Direct and Honest with your child
Age-appropriate honesty is the best solution when you explain Dementia to your child.
Your children are more likely to notice household and lifestyle changes. They can pick up on cues such as whispers and frustrated body language.
While you might be inclined to try to protect them, it is better to give them direct answers to their direct questions.
“Why does Grandma Mary do silly things?”
“Dementia makes people confused and makes people do silly things. Try not to laugh at her because it might make her upset. You can help her instead!”
“Why is Grandpa Shawn angry all the time?”
“Grandpa is getting older, and his brain is slowing down; he gets snappy sometimes. He’s just a little frustrated because he can’t do some of the things, he used to be able to do.”
A person struggling with Dementia may say nonsensical things. You and your child should play along with them instead of contradicting or correcting them.
It is better to do so rather than asking your child to lie.
Enter their reality with them.
Prepare Conversation Topics in Advance
Have your children carry the weight of the conversation with a person with Dementia.
“Hey! Why don’t you tell Grandpa Shawn about the birthday party you went to last week?”
You can also plan activities that your child and their grandparent with Dementia can indulge in together. Be it colouring, listening to music, solving puzzles, or even singing.
Have your Children Stay in your Family Member with Dementia’s Line of Sight
If a person with Dementia can’t see you when you’re talking to them, they can get startled. All you need to do, is slowly nudge your child in the right direction as necessary, making it a habit to notice where they’re standing.
Don’t be afraid when your child spends time with an elderly person with Dementia. Encourage their curiosity and accept what is happening.
There are also children’s books about Dementia that you can read to/with your child:
If you’re unable to be around your loved ones with Dementia because of your busy schedules, you can contact Emirates Home Nursing and we will provide one of our expert nurses to come and support your family.
Ramadan this year brings along several health concerns in light of the Coronavirus spread. From compromising your immune system to keeping the virus at bay through drinking water, we debunk some of the most common fasting myths surrounding during the holy month.
Common Fasting Myth: Fasting can compromise the immune system
Reality: Fasting improves your immune system
According to scientific research, fasting triggers cell regeneration which could regenerate the immune system and reproduce new white blood cells with a stronger ability to fight disease.
Common Fasting Myth: You need to drink water every 15 minutes to prevent the coronavirus
Reality: Drinking will not prevent anyone from catching the coronavirus
Healthcare providers warn against believing homegrown social media advice to prevent the coronavirus and instead following recommendations from official sources. Recently many social media posts encouraged drinking water every 15 minutes and gurgling. While this can keep your body hydrated, doctors say it will not prevent anyone from getting the virus.
Common Fasting Myths: People Gain Weight During Ramadan
Reality: Fasting Aids Weight Loss and Boosts Metabolism
Iftar feasts and Arabian sweets can be tempting, but if you stick to healthy eating habits, fasting can aid weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting your metabolism. According to a research published by Pubmed, fasting can increase metabolic rate between 3.6 to 14%.
Common Fasting Myths: Fasting Makes you Lose Focus
Reality: Fasting Improves Brain Function
Fasting reduces brain over-activity, allowing you to focus on your tasks. Various studies proved that fasting enhances memory performance, cognitive behavior and reduces depression activity.
Common Fasting Myths: Fasting Cause Fatigue
Reality: Fasting can Boost your Energy Levels
There is a misconception that fasting can leave you feeling tired and low on energy, but, scientifically, limiting the intake of carbohydrates and sugar over a long period of time will prompt your body to use stored fats for energy and therefore boosting energy levels. At the same time your body will be releasing growth hormone and regulating insulin levels to create an energy mix in your body.
None of us wants to think about ageing, and especially the idea of having to rely on others, or our loved ones, to take care of our most basic physical needs; but knowing that professional support is available is incredibly reassuring. When it comes to senior care in the UAE, Emirates Home Nursing focuses on not only delivering exemplary medical support, but on building relationships with our elderly clients and their families.
According to Dubai Health Authority figures, the geriatric population in the emirate is growing as life expectancy increases, and with that comes burgeoning demand for senior care. Ahead of World Health Day on 7 April, we talk to Dr Momina Javed about the importance of seniors care in alleviating the burden on families.
Care in the home
“We’ve definitely seen a rise in elderly care support requests from Emirati and Indian families in particular, as these nationalities culturally tend to have older relatives living with them,” says Dr Javed.
“Most families are not at all phased by bringing someone into the home as it is part of the Dubai culture. It still gives them the sense that their family member is being cared for by the family, as the care takes place in the family home,” she adds. When you bring a ‘stranger’ into your home, you want to know that they will go beyond merely offering basic care and will establish a rapport with their client – you mother, father or other elderly relative – and one of the priorities for the Emirates Home Nursing team is to match the best resource with the client.
Says Dr Javed: “We allocate nurses primarily based on the case of the patient and the experience of the nurse. It’s important that the best care is delivered, so we want to assign the most qualified nurse for that individual’s care plan. This might mean assigning a nurse with experience in lifting and moving heavier patients, or experience providing care for an elderly patient suffering from a memory disorder such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.”
Matching personality with professionalism
Professional skills ticked off, there is an equally important element in the matching of nurse to client. Says Dr Javed: “We also think about the personality of the patient and family members. Our nurses spend a lot of time with the patient, so it’s important that the personalities match on some level. Where possible, we consider personality, cultural backgrounds and language.”
The Emirates Home Nursing care team represent multiple nationalities, and with that comes language skills from Arabic to Hindi to Malayalam, with English spoken by every staff member. Another key factor is promoting independence, which means ensuring that the senior client feels as comfortable as possible at all times. “We want our elderly patients to feel supported and have a companion in their nurse,” she adds.
Home Nursing Support System
It’s a slightly different story when it comes to 24/7 care, with Dr Javed noting that in these situations, a rotating team of three nurses is assigned to each client. “It’s not productive to have nurses working for over 12 hours, they get tired and the quality of care is compromised so we rotate the nurses, but always deliver the same level of personalised care,” she says. Dedication is the foundation of the Emirates Home Nursing senior care offering from bedside activity to behind-the-scenes support, as Dr Javed explains: “With us, not only are they receiving the best quality of care available but they have access to a dedicated office support team.
“We have a great team of admin staff on the phones who handle all the booking requirements and changes. We also have a dedicated clinical manager who compiles an individual care plan for each senior client, and all progress notes are recorded in the same way a hospital would – on an app.”
In the event of deteriorating health and possible hospital admission, the Emirates Home Nursing team can pass on detailed medical and care records to the physicians, ensuring that everything is done to support the client even when they are out of their direct supervision.
Specialists in Ageing
With Dubai Health Authority also placing new impetus on engendering a culture of ‘healthy ageing’ so as to mitigate some of the issues associated with geriatric care in the future, Emirates Home Nursing is well aware of the most common conditions its clients are living with. “Within our elderly care clients, the most common issues we are dealing with are arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia/Alzheimer’s, hypertension, diabetes and loss of balance,” notes Dr Javed.
For its clients, and their relatives, the reassurance that the team’s expert levels of professional care extend across a full spectrum of life-affecting issues, is a major decision influencer when looking at potential providers.
Says Dr Javed: “When hiring our nurses, we look for individuals who have specialised in certain healthcare areas and have experience working on certain wards. With homecare for seniors in mind, we hire nurses that have worked on geriatric hospital wards or within an elderly nursing home.
“Under the term ‘geriatric’ there is a huge list of age-related healthcare issues. Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be a little more difficult to handle, and until the patient is used to the nurse it can be a little rocky establishing a relationship between the two. These diseases obviously cause huge personality shifts and it is important that the nurse not only has the physical skills of moving and handling an elderly patient, but the correct mind and skillset to handle the difficulties that come with caring for a dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer.”
This dictates a highly personalised approach with the team creating personal care plans, tailored specifically to the senior’s ailments, with progress notes regularly recorded to ensure that the plan remains current. A dedicated GP, clinical manager and nursing supervisor manage the care plan and assigned team.
Relief in Respite
Respite care is another area where Emirates Home Nursing adds immeasurable value, allowing full-time family carers to take time out for the sake of their own health and wellbeing. Dr Javed elaborates: “Respite care can be from anything from one day to a month. It is physically and mentally draining to look after a patient or family member full time. Respite care allows the primary care giver to have that well-earned break and recharge.
“We have requests for respite care from people and families who don’t realise that that is what it’s called. It is something that should be promoted more, especially in this region.”
Emirates Home Nursing also offers support for those who may have relatives visiting, and need an extra caring hand. “Our services are not just available in the home setting, but also in and around Dubai and are mainly requested by Western expats. Promoting independence, our nurses accompany families as they explore Dubai or, if they are here for a wedding, for example, we provide a nurse to aid the senior family member, so that the rest of the family can enjoy the day confident that their loved one is cared for properly,” says Dr Javed.
And our families agree. Says a private client: ‘We have been using Emirates Nursing for several years and have found them to be professional, caring and adaptable in all respects. The admin team all take an interest in the care and welfare of their patients and their colleagues, and we have received excellent service and personal attention from the nurses right up to the general manager.
‘Their nurses are well trained and show great empathy for their patients even in the most challenging situations.’