Dementia – from an insider’s perspective

What is it like to experience dementia?

It’s suggested that to truly understand someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. But, how can you experience the world from another’s perspective when that person has dementia?

Oxley Home Care has devised a handy guide to help you understand what it’s like to experience early dementia.

Fundamentally, dementia changes how you interpret what you see, hear, taste, feel and smell (that’s according to the US National Institutes of Health).

If you’re experiencing dementia:

  • Your memories may be effected:
    • You may forget where you put things.
    • You may forget if you have done something and so may repeat doing or saying the same thing.
    • Your strongest memories may be from the past.
    • Your memory loss is persistent and progressive and not just occasional, according to Alzheimer’s Australia.
    • You may experience difficulty in continuing to work or carry out familiar tasks.
    • You may have difficulty finding your way home.
    • You may blame others for ‘stealing’ your lost items.
  • Your reasoning may be effected:
    • You may find handling money and the notion of value difficult to understand.
    • You may be slower to grasp complex ideas and take longer to complete your routine jobs.
    • You may be unable to adapt to change and unwilling to try new things
  • Your stress levels may be raised because:
    • You may find large groups of people difficult to experience now.
    • You may find too much noise confuses you.
    • You may find that you’re anxious in social situations you once coped well with previously.
    • You may find it difficult to be included in social situations where others don’t have the same impairment as you.
    • You may have failed at undertaking a certain new task that you set yourself.
    • You are aware that you are likely to become more agitated, anxious or aggressive due to dementia.
  • You become more dependent on all of your senses:
    • You may need to smell, feel and see things when you didn’t need to use all of your senses before.
    • You could become agitated if you become too hot.
    • If there isn’t enough light to see, you could become confused. Shadows can be interpreted as objects.
    • Clutter, chaos and noise and patterns (in flooring and furnishings) can become unhelpful as they are distracting.

On average, symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a diagnosis is made (according to J Phillips, Author of ‘Timely Diagnosis of Dementia: Can We Do Better?’)

For people with Advanced Dementia, some abilities remain, although many are lost as the disease progresses. According to Alzheimer’s Australia, a person still keeps their sense of touch and hearing and their ability to respond to emotion.

To find out more about dementia, click here.

How can Oxley Home Care Help?

Oxley Home Care offers tailored, early intervention and health and lifestyle coaching to people with dementia. Each person assisted is treated as an individual with their own history, memories and likes/dislikes taken into consideration.

Oxley Home Care’s support services for people with dementia and their carers include:

  • Personal care, showering, dressing, grooming, dental hygiene and denture care
  • Preparing and serving of meals
  • Daily living support, including domestic assistance
  • Transport to social events
  • Shopping and errands
  • Companionship and leisure activities

In addition, Oxley Home Care’s respite support allows carers to rest and reenergise with peace of mind, on a regular basis.

To find out more about getting the right support and care for a family member with dementia, contact Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.

Gilian Douglass

Comments

  1. What a great article, it really went in-depth and listed out many things that people never realise. This was so handy for our family!

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