On February 16, 2023, the family of Bruce Willis, age 67,issued a statementrevealing that the Hollywood actor has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia calledfrontotemporal dementia(FTD).FTD can cause changes in behavior and/or language skillsand can cause people to behave inappropriately for the situation.
The statement comes less than a year after Willis announced his retirement in March 2022 after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that affects the way he communicates. His family joined him in offering their support, both privately and publicly.
If there's anything positive about Willis's diagnosis and the family's openness about her condition, it's that it has helped to raise awareness about dementia and the profound impact it can have on health.more than 7 million households in the US
The process of developing dementia and being diagnosed can be slow, confusing and painful for everyone involved. But the most important thing to remember is that there are many ways to help your loved one live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
“Dementia is a physically and emotionally challenging illness for patients and their loved ones. Every day requires patience and empathy. Your main role here is to accompany them as they learn to manage their symptoms,” says Nancy Mitchell, registered nurse with over 37 years of experience in geriatric nursing care.Health.
If your loved one suffers from dementia, whether mild or advanced, here are some expert-recommended products that can help make your everyday life easier.
“In the early stages of dementia, it can be helpful to carry notebooks and written notes with you,” says Jennifer Avila, executive director of thePersonalized home service.
A large, colorful notebook that is not easily lost can be a great place to jot down important information. While any notebook will do the job, we like that this Paperage option comes in a variety of bold colors, is made from vegan leather, and has an interior pocket for receipts, medical notes, appointment cards, and more.
automatic tablet dispenser
A dose box, or medication/pill organizer, is an important tool to help your loved ones keep track of their medications. Depending on how advanced the dementia is, these can be very basic (like this 2 large pack option for only $10 on Amazon). However, if remembering to take medications regularly is a common struggle, it helps to have a more advanced dispenser, such as this option from EziMedPil. The 28-day organizer allows caregivers to organize medication monthly and set up to six alarms per day. This helps ensure your loved one never misses a dose.
“The alarm on their pill dispenser provides a gentle push to adhere to treatment regimens, without the embarrassment of having a caregiver constantly reminding them. It's a great product to keep them accountable and independent," says Mitchell.
People with dementia often lose their most used items. Remembering where you put your keys or wallet can become a daily problem and lead to increasing levels of anxiety. That's why we love something like this docking station, which encourages them to put their most important items (think: keys, wallet, cell phone, glasses) in one place.
“Reducing clutter, simplifying the home, and using organizational products like this docking station can help someone with memory loss feel in control of their environment,” says Avila.
remote control locator
If a docking station isn't the right solution for your loved one (or if you're looking for an additional way to keep track of your belongings), this simple remote control locator is a great option. It's very low-tech (no app or Wi-Fi required!) with large buttons that make it easy for people with visual or physical impairments to use. Just press a button on the transmitter and the corresponding receiver will flash and emit a loud beep, up to 36 meters away.
This item has 244 5-star reviews on Amazon witha critic saying, “My mother uses a cane and at 84 she constantly loses it. We tied [the receiver] to the cane and later that day he lost it again. I found him under the covers in his room. I would never have found it without it! The alarm is loud... loud enough for my hearing-impaired parents to hear from a few rooms away.
Universal TV remote control with big buttons
With only 6 large backlit buttons, this remote can replace your TV controller, which can be confusing for your loved one.
“Navigating technology can be very difficult for people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. A simplified TV remote like this, with just the basic functions, can give the senior a sense of independence and reduce frustration,” says Avila.
Customers agreewith an Amazon reviewer writing, “I bought it for my mother who has dementia and it's much easier for her to use without all those buttons that are on the original remote.”
Smart watch with life alert system
"Wandering is a common symptom of dementia," explains Mitchell. “It is also one of the most worrying symptoms because the person's disorientation and lack of awareness of their surroundings can drag them into dangerous environments. We also have to consider the fact that some types of dementia end up causing a deterioration in motor skills. As a result, these seniors are at greater risk of falling and injuring themselves.
“A smart watch with Life Alert ensures that help is always available for these people. If something happens, first responders will be dispatched within minutes to care for your loved one in need."
custom hospital gown
As people with dementia are prone to accidents, this often leads to an increase in hospital visits. Having a hospital gown they love and that expresses their style and personality is an easy way to make these visits more comfortable. Giftgowns has a fantastic selection of bathrobes for children and adults, made from 100% cotton with press studs on the shoulders and back.
“Those living with dementia may have difficulty performing daily tasks such as eating or getting dressed,” explains Dr. Ketan Parmar, psychiatrist and mental health specialist atClinicSpots. "To help with this... products like dressing aids can make these activities easier and less stressful for the individual and their caregivers."
This dressing stick comes with a shoehorn and dressing clips to prevent your loved ones from bending over when putting on socks, shoes and pants.
oversized digital watch
“A simple, easy-to-read clock with programmable reminders could be helpful for older people with [dementia],” says Avila. "This product is a good way to guide seniors through standard daily routines like taking medicine."
In addition, people with Alzheimer's usually havetrouble sleeping and may be confused or disoriented in the early afternoon. They may not know what time it is or if it's day or night and this can lead to feelings of anxiety. A large digital clock that clearly indicates the time of day and whether it is "morning", "afternoon" or "evening" can be a big help.
“There is no doubt that keys are essential for maintaining secure access to different parts of your home. The Key Finder [Vodeson] is useful for helping people with dementia find their keys, no matter where unexpected places they have been left. This may be one of the most useful products, as memory loss is one of the main symptoms in most types of dementia,” explains Mitchell.
Anxiety is common in dementia and can often worsen dementia symptoms, "particularly symptoms that affect a person's attention, planning, organization and decision-making."according to the Alzheimer's Society.Giving a loved one something to do with their hands (like this anti-stress muff) that allows them to feel comfortable and stimulated at the same time is a great tool to help them relax.
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Some of the greatest challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia are the personality and behavior changes that often occur. You can best meet these challenges by using creativity, flexibility, patience, and compassion. It also helps to not take things personally and maintain your sense of humor.What are the best things to help with dementia? ›
- Take a walk.
- Plant flowers.
- Water plants.
- Feed the birds.
- Rake leaves.
- Go to the park.
- Sit on a bench or a swing.
- Watch dogs at a dog park.
As dementia progresses, an individual will eventually require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) (e.g., eating, grooming, mobility) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) (e.g., meal preparation, shopping, financial and medication management) (Karon et al., 2015).What are the 5 needs of dementia? ›
Philosophically, they looked at what persons with dementia need and determined that the answer began with love at the center surrounded by the following five offshoots: comfort, attachment, inclusion, occupation, and identity (Kitwood, 1997).What are 3 things to never do with your loved one with dementia? ›
I'm going to discuss five of the most basic ones here: 1) Don't tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don't argue with them, 3) Don't ask if they remember something, 4) Don't remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead, and 5) Don't bring up topics that may upset them.Is TV good for dementia patients? ›
For people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, watching TV can help keep their brain active, which can stimulate positive memories, improve mood, and even increase socialization.How do you stay sane while caring for someone with dementia? ›
- Learn about dementia. ...
- Be realistic about dementia. ...
- Be realistic about yourself. ...
- Accept your feelings. ...
- Share information and feelings with others. ...
- Be positive. ...
- Look for humour. ...
- Take care of yourself.
There are a range of memory aids to help people remember important things. Whiteboards are useful for writing lists and reminders. Clocks with large faces are easier to read, and can display the date, and even the time of day. Diaries and calendars are useful for keeping track of appointments and routines.What comforts a dementia patient? ›
Making a living area dementia friendly is not a science. Bringing in personal items from former homes is important, such as photos, or a favourite blanket, or even favoured items of furniture that have a long family history, can be moved in. These can provide reassurance and remind the person which room they are in.What should a good care plan include? ›
- what's important to you.
- what you can do yourself.
- what equipment or care you need.
- what your friends and family think.
- who to contact if you have questions about your care.
- your personal budget and direct payments (this is the weekly amount the council will spend on your care)
Even though dogs and cats might not be an option, seniors with dementia have been known to respond extremely well to realistic stuffed animals. They bring emotional comfort, which can improve their overall quality of life.Are weighted blankets good for dementia patients? ›
Some nursing staff claimed that the weighted blanket did not help with sleep problems in the residents with advanced dementia. Other nursing staff experienced that the weighted blanket worked very well and improved resident's sleep even if they had a dementia disease.Are fidget blankets good for dementia patients? ›
Fidget blankets are one way to help restore calm. “When you bring someone with Alzheimer's or dementia a fidget blanket, they immediately gravitate to it,” says Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care Volunteer Manager Kimberly Mumper. “It rests in their lap and gives them comfort.”What are the three golden rules of dementia? ›
SPECAL sense begins with three Golden Rules: Don't ask direct questions. Listen to the expert – the person with dementia – and learn from them. Don't contradict.What are the six habits reduce dementia? ›
Being active, eating a better diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, keeping normal blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and having low blood sugar in middle age may all lower the chances of developing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease later in life, research suggests.What is the most common cause of death in dementia patients? ›
One of the most common causes of death for people with dementia is pneumonia caused by an infection. A person in the later stages of dementia may have symptoms that suggest that they are close to death, but can sometimes live with these symptoms for many months.What are the 7 A's of dementia? ›
The 7 'A's of Dementia, or anosognosia, amnesia, aphasia, agnosia, apraxia, altered perception and apathy, represent changes that can happen in dementia patients because of damage to their brain(opens in a new tab).What are the 8 A's of dementia? ›
The 8 A's consist of: anosognosia, agnosia, aphasia, apraxia, altered perception, amnesia, apathy and attentional deficits. Loved ones with dementia may not always show or experience each A, because the signs of dementia appear different for every person.What are the 4 R's of dementia? ›
THE 4Rs: REASSURE, RECONSIDER, REDIRECT, and RELAX. Although many specific problems in dementia are best managed by equally specific solutions, there are some general approaches that can be used in a wide range of situations.What makes dementia worse? ›
Over time, the disease causing the dementia spreads to other parts of the brain. This leads to more symptoms because more of the brain is unable to work properly. At the same time, already-damaged areas of the brain become even more affected, causing symptoms the person already has to get worse.
Avoid asking too many open-ended questions about the past, as it could be stressful for a person with dementia if they can't remember the answer. While it might seem polite to ask somebody about their day, it's better to focus on what's happening in the present.What do dementia patients lose first? ›
Loss of memory is among the first symptoms reported by patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD) and by their caretakers. Working memory and long-term declarative memory are affected early during the course of the disease.What are the signs dementia is getting worse? ›
Middle stage: A person develops more significant cognitive problems that may affect their ability to perform daily self-care or live alone. Late stage: The body begins to shut down. A person may not recognize others or speak. They may become incontinent and stop responding to their environment.What should people with dementia watch? ›
- Grumpy Old Men.
- Cheaper by the Dozen.
- Fried Green Tomatoes.
- John Wayne.
- Guys and Dolls.
- It's a Wonderful Life.
- The Pajama Game.
Stay mentally and socially active. Engaging in mental or social activities may help to build up your brain's ability to cope with disease, relieve stress and improve your mood. This means doing these activities may help to delay, or even prevent, dementia from developing.At what stage do dementia patients forget family members? ›
In stage 6 of dementia, a person may start forgetting the names of close loved ones and have little memory of recent events.What are two common issues that affect family caregivers of someone with dementia? ›
Family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and related dementias are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and poorer quality of life than caregivers of people with other conditions.What color do dementia patients see best? ›
However, for the most part, the use of various colors, particularly in the environment for those living with dementia, can be helpful in providing quality of care. Color preferences for individuals with dementia are red, blue and green. For instance, blue is a restful color with a calming effect.What is one challenging behavior that someone with dementia is most likely to show? ›
People with dementia often develop restless behaviours, such as pacing up and down, wandering out of the home and agitated fidgeting.What type of question works best when talking with a person with dementia? ›
“Open-ended questions are great when you want to have a conversation and connect,” says Drew. “People living with Alzheimer's may enjoy talking about their families, friends, and the things they like in life, whether it's a hobby, an old TV show, or their favorite foods.”
Care, Compassion, Courage, Commitment, Competence and Communication carry many different meanings within the care setting.What do people living with dementia want from others? ›
Each person's situation is unique, and therefore some people living with dementia will want as much practical support and information as is available in their location; others may deny they have problems and reject help; and again others may prefer to defer all decisions to the authority of the health or social care ...