Understanding Boredom’s Effect on Dementia

A senior woman feels anxious due to boredom’s effect on dementia.

Aggression, anxiety, wandering, and more can manifest in a loved one due to boredom’s effect on dementia, but these tips can help.

Salt and pepper. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Some things are just supposed to go together. One combination you want to avoid, however, is dementia and boredom. Studies have revealed that boredom’s effect on dementia can lead to an increase in:

  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Wandering
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • And more

In addition to that, boredom in family members providing care for a person with dementia is also troubling, resulting in an increased risk for depression and burnout.

How to Prevent Someone With Dementia From Becoming Bored

Clearly, preventing boredom is a must. These proven strategies are a great starting point.

  • Provide plenty of meaningful activities that build a feeling of purpose and self-worth. This might include helping with folding laundry, preparing meals, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox, or whatever provides a connection to the individual’s past occupation or passions.
  • Since boredom and loneliness often occur together, be sure there are regular opportunities for socializing in accordance with the person’s comfort level. If large groups of visitors are stressful, for example, ask friends and family members to visit one or two at a time.
  • Take sufficient time for reminiscing. Use scrapbooks, photo albums, and home movies. Search the internet for top news articles from a particular time period to discuss together.
  • Know what sparks interest, and seek out opportunities for engagement accordingly. For example, if the individual’s face lights up whenever they see a dog, explore pet therapy or arrange for regular visits with friends and family who have dogs.
  • Play the person’s favorite music through a variety of means: the radio, a playlist, videos of concerts, outings to local school musical programs or the individual’s religious organization to enjoy spiritual songs. Perhaps even plan a karaoke night with family, or a guitar or piano singalong.

Maintain a journal of which activities were most well received, as well as the ones that seemed to be of less interest.

A companion from Generations at Home is a great way to bring a breath of fresh air into the day of a person with dementia. Our caregivers are experienced and highly skilled in creative techniques to boost contentment and engagement for someone with dementia. A caregiver from Generations at Home will add much-needed socialization for your family member, while providing you with the opportunity to step away and take time for yourself.

A few of the various ways we can help include:

  • Engagement in ability-appropriate activities that offer purpose and help boost memory
  • Conversations and reminiscing
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene
  • Providing transportation and accompaniment for fun outings
  • Planning and preparing nutritious snacks and meals
  • And so much more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our customized care solutions in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Seminole, and the surrounding areas.

A Sudden Decline in Dementia: Causes and Remedies

What a sudden decline in dementia could mean (senior Alzheimer's man with adult daughter)

If you see a sudden decline in dementia in someone you love, take action right away.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was an Alzheimer’s care manual, with step-by-step details on what to expect at each and every stage of the disease? While there are a few general commonalities during the progression of dementia, each person’s experience is unique. This makes it difficult to know what to expect on any given day.

Even with the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s disease, there are particular situations that are beyond the typical array of expectations to watch for. For example, dementia typically progresses slowly and steadily, so a sudden decline in dementia is cause for concern. This might occur for a plethora of reasons:

  • An underlying illness such as cancer or prion disease
  • Disruption to normal routine from a move, change in caregivers, hospitalization, etc.
  • Sundowning
  • Stroke or a brain injury, such as from a fall
  • Delirium, caused by an infection, hospital stay or surgery, medication side effects, lack of sleep, dehydration, or even constipation

What Are the Typical Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and as of now, incurable. Therefore, a decline in condition is to be expected. An abrupt shift in the person’s condition, however, is atypical. In general, the condition progresses through the following stages:

  • Early: The initial detectable signs of Alzheimer’s are usually very mild, including short-term memory lapses, forgetting a word, or getting lost.
  • Middle: In the middle stage of the disease, cognitive difficulties progress to the point that the person struggles with independently performing activities of daily living.
  • Late: The last stage of Alzheimer’s, which can take years to reach, involves a lack of response and recognition of both people and the environment, as the body begins to shut down.

If You Observe a Sudden Decline in Dementia…

Seek medical help right away if a rapid decline is noted so that the cause can be pinpointed and addressed.

A dementia care journal is often a very helpful tool, before, during, and after worsening symptoms. Daily journaling can help you keep track of:

  • Sleeping and eating habits
  • What works and what doesn’t work in helping the person manage challenges
  • Medications taken and any side effects detected
  • Any challenging behaviors noted, with particulars on time of day and possible triggers or contributing circumstances
  • The individual’s overall demeanor on any given day

These kinds of details will be invaluable in helping to piece together what might have caused an abrupt change in condition and how to remedy it.

Generations at Home’s caregivers are highly trained and skilled in caring for individuals with dementia and detecting any changes in condition. Contact us at 727-940-3414 and let us walk beside you on your dementia care journey with customized services in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gulfport, and nearby areas.

Can a Caregiver Get PTSD?

Can a caregiver get PTSD?

Can a caregiver get PTSD? The answer may surprise you!

If you think PTSD only happens to those who have experienced life-threatening danger, think again. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can arise after any traumatic event or experience. So, can a caregiver get PTSD? It may surprise you to learn that providing care for a loved one is, in fact, among the main factors behind PTSD. Nevertheless, the condition frequently goes undetected, and thus untreated. This is because the individual receiving care is usually the primary focus of both healthcare providers and the family at large.

As a family caregiver, it’s essential to be aware of the red flags of caregiver PTSD – which are distinctly different from other forms of PTSD – and to seek help if you are experiencing them. These include:

  • Anxiety: Heightened anxiety regarding your family member’s health and wellbeing may be especially noticeable at night, and can lead to night terrors.
  • Pain: Both physical and emotional pain can be overwhelming and unrelenting. This can include stomach upset and headaches as well as feelings of hopelessness and anguish.
  • Apathy: You may feel empty, numb, and emotionally detached from loved ones. This can occur in conjunction with compassion fatigue.
  • Flashbacks: Reliving a distressing experience can result in the same degree of emotion as when the event occurred.

Why Are Caregivers at an Increased Risk for PTSD?

There are several factors that can come into play to create the perfect storm for caregiver PTSD, including:

  • Hospitalizations and other emergency situations that arise
  • Grief over a range of losses: watching a loved one’s health diminish, experiencing a relationship shift from simply being a family member to being in a caregiver role, being unable to live life as it used to be, and much more
  • The overwhelming responsibilities involved with caregiving: from day-to-day care tasks to managing life-changing medical and financial decisions on a loved one’s behalf
  • Difficult family dynamics and complex emotions like remorse, guilt, hopelessness, and helplessness

What Should You Do if You Believe You May Have Caregiver PTSD?

The first step should be to talk with your primary care physician to explain the symptoms you’re encountering. You will want to rule out any other medical conditions, particularly if you are experiencing any physical pain.

It’s equally important to locate a therapist who is specially trained in treating individuals with PTSD. There are effective treatment options, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapy, as well as individual, family, or group counseling.

Taking regular breaks from your caregiving role is also extremely important. Let friends and family members know that you’re struggling and that you could use more support. Caregiving should never be a one-person responsibility. Permitting others to step in and help benefits the person you are caring for as well, providing them with additional opportunities for social connections.

How Does Home Care Help?

Generations at Home’s in-home respite care services allow you to take the time away you’ll need for self-care while knowing a loved one is receiving high quality care. Taking care of yourself is key to providing the best care for your family member. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 for additional information.