Dementia is a merciless condition that erodes the personality and independence of sufferers. And whilst there is no cure, only treatments that can stave off the inevitable, there are also various ways in which the structure of daily life can limit the extent to which dementia takes over. One of the simplest ways is to provide as much social interaction as possible.
Loneliness encourages mental decline
When elderly people begin to get less mobile and to interact less with the outside world they can become isolated and lonely. Even if they have plenty of visits from home helps, cleaners, gardeners and family they can still feel lonely if no one has the time to sit down for a cup of tea and a nice long chat.
In home care offers more than someone to cook, clean and carry. A live in carer will be able to create a friendship with the elderly person to stave off loneliness and encourage social interaction. Sitting down for a nice cup of tea is part of the job.
Strong emotions need to be vented
Many sufferers of dementia get very frustrated and angry at themselves, especially in the early stages when they are still aware of their condition. This can lead to isolation from friends and family who are too emotionally tied to the sufferer and spend decreasing amounts of time in their company to avoid being hurt by their outbursts.
Having a friendly ear always on hand, in the form of a live in home help, allows them to vent their feelings instead of bottling them up. A professional caregiver understands that these emotions are a normal part of the condition and that by allowing their client to give voice to their feelings they are creating a healthier environment.
Talking stimulates the brain
Even if your loved one can no longer communicate themselves, listening to their caregiver talking about the daily routine, discussing the weather and what’s going to happen later will stimulate the language processing centres of the brain and slow down the rate of decline. Communication is not solely verbal and the brain still needs to process the words it is hearer and prepare a response. The more the brain is used the slower the rate at which dementia damages it.
Social interaction stimulates the whole body
Many people with dementia suffer from anxiety and depression but having companionship is reassuring and calming for them. People are natural communicators and most people have a more positive outlook on life when they have a companion who they can talk to on a regular basis.
Not only can companionship lift mood but it can also lower blood pressure and improve the quality of sleep – both of which are important to the continued health of the dementia sufferer. Getting a good night’s rest is essential to the self-repair mechanisms of the brain and body which are at their most active during periods of sleep.