If you have an older family member that was recently diagnosed with dementia, you may wonder what to expect in the future. A recent diagnosis likely means that the senior is currently in the early stages of the disease. The next stage of the disease is the middle stage, which can be the longest of the three stages. Knowing what to expect during the middle stage of dementia can help you to be prepared for what comes next.
What is the Middle Stage of Dementia Like?
This is the stage in which older adults become more reliant on caregivers for assistance. The changes can be difficult to deal with as the senior may become frustrated by what they are no longer able to do. Their behavior may change so that they do things you don’t expect, like refusing to take a bath. Some specific things you may see during the middle stage are:
- Behavior Changes: This may include depression, anxiety, saying or doing the same thing over and over, aggression, and wandering.
- Communication Problems: The senior will have increasing problems with communicating. They may have more trouble finding the right words to say, they may be unable to concentrate on a conversation, or rely more on non-verbal communication.
- Trouble with Daily Care: The older adult will need more help with daily care like dressing and eating.
- Driving: The senior will not be able to safely drive anymore. They may make unsafe decisions or get lost.
- Safety Issues: It can be unsafe for older adults in the middle stage to be left alone.
Tips for Caregiving During the Middle Stage
The transition from the early stage to the middle stage can be challenging. Because the older adult will require more assistance, the time commitment from family caregivers is greater. Some tips for taking care of a senior during the middle stages are:
- Encourage Independence: Resist the temptation to do everything for the senior. Allow them to continue doing as much as they can on their own. You may have to help them get started with some activities, but there may still be many things they can do for themselves.
- Find a Caregiver Class: Some hospitals and other organizations occasionally offer classes and seminars to help family caregivers gain the skills they need to care for someone with dementia. Watch for a class in your area and sign up if you’re able.
- Change the Way You Communicate: Communicating effectively during the middle stage requires some changes to the way you speak. Try using simpler sentences and asking questions that offer a choice between two things instead of open-ended questions.
Because of the increased care needs, the middle stage of dementia is a good time to involve elderly care. An elderly care provider can take on some of the responsibilities, filling in gaps in the care calendar when family caregivers cannot be there. Elderly care providers can even take overnight shifts.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider elderly care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.