“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its is about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
Life is an ongoing movement. We constantly need to adapt to new realities, with every period bringing challenges and requiring adjustments. When we get married, we organise shared bank accounts, we change documents. When we have children, we adjust the size and safety of our houses. When we lose a loved one, we have emotional challenges. Having a family member with dementia is no different. To assist in dealing with someone who suffers from dementia, Northern Beaches Dementia Alliance is putting together some tips shared by experienced members to help adapt to this new phase of life:
Banking – The way in which people suffering from dementia deal with money can complicate the everyday life of carers. Especially in digital times. Everything is at your fingertips and just a click away if you are familiar with the technology. If not, ask someone to help you. Therefore, it is important to discuss your options with the person’s bank. If the patient is the main holder of the bank account and the credit card, discuss with the bank manager if this can be altered to include you as a primary holder.. Also, putting a limit on the card can help to manage expenses. The person who will be managing the finances from this point forward needs to have access not only to the PIN for the bank cards, but also those for other cards, such as supermarket, travel miles, and stores. Utilities such as Council rates, electricity, gas, water and telephone may only deal with the person whose name appears on the account and not anyone else without their approval. It is a wise move to have your name on these accounts and saves a lot of frustration. This adds a layer of protection for the entire family.
Technology and tricks – Nowadays, there is a wide range of good products to assist people with dementia. These include GPS, watches, and services that can guarantee prolonged independence for the patients. However, simple things can help too. Firstly, something as straightforward as a big house clock with the time and date will be of immense help to a person with dementia, allowing them to check the date and time for themselves. Having a bracelet with the person’s name and emergency contact numbers can also be of great help in the event that they get lost or have issues finding their home.
Safety – Safety is another important consideration in a household setting. Removing access to things that can hurt people with cognitive and also movement issues is a good way to ensure they are safe. People with dementia can sometimes lose track of day and night, so ensure that the front door is closed at night to avoid inappropriate wandering. Same with windows and stoves. As this is a progressive condition, we never know when a safety issue will arise, so it is important to be prepared and think ahead.
If you have any tips of your own, please share them with us.