Dementia is the umbrella term given to cognitive symptoms like loss of memory and judgment. These can have a tremendous impact on an individual’s ability to carry out activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are the behaviors and tasks people with dementia must follow routinely to function normally and may include maintaining proper hygiene, getting dressed, and eating. A home aide can help people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia navigate the following challenges.
How Dementia Impacts ADLs
1. Diminished Attention Span
Many ADLs encompass multiple tasks. For instance, getting dressed could involve picking out an outfit, buttoning a shirt, and tying shoes. Since dementia can make it difficult to focus on several activities in a series, these multistep tasks can become daunting and prone to mistakes. However, in-home health aids can assist, especially if the individual is feeling tired or overwhelmed.
2. Memory Challenges
Memory loss introduces a two-fold challenge with ADLs. Not only can it make someone forget to complete an important task, such as teeth brushing, but that person may also forget how to perform the act altogether. Home aides can help your loved one perform them if they’re experiencing the effects of dementia. They can also keep a checklist to ensure your elderly family member completes each task on their own if they are still able to.
3. Executive Functioning Issues
Executive function is the set of cognitive skills that encompass memory, self-control, and flexible thinking. When these become affected by dementia, it can be challenging to maintain focus and follow instructions. This can cause someone to get jumbled when following a routine. For instance, they may do tasks out of order, such as putting their shoes on before their socks.
4. Judgment Changes
Judgment is another cognitive process that becomes disrupted with dementia. Judgment is constantly used to make small decisions, from choosing to turn on the air conditioning instead of the heat when it’s hot out to dressing appropriately for the weather. Such decisions can be compromised in people with dementia. However, with supervision, a person can be guided towards healthy, appropriate decisions.
5. Impaired Spatial Awareness
Because cognitive challenges can impact vision and spatial awareness, individuals may struggle to reach for and grab objects. This can even be the case for items within close proximity, such as a fork, toothbrush, or TV remote. Fortunately, a home aide can see to it that your loved one is taken care of, even if they struggle with these issues.
If you have a loved one with dementia, the team at Lifetime Care can provide comprehensive assistance to ensure their needs are met. This home health care provider has been serving the Finger Lakes region of New York since 1960. They have more than five locations, are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and have been named a Top Agency by HomeCare Elite®. Find out more about their home aide services online. Call (585) 214-1000 to discuss your loved one’s needs with a helpful team member.