People who are in the early stages of their dementia have a more difficult time participating in social activities than those who have been suffering with this illness for a longer period of time. Teepa Snow, a dementia education specialist, believes that this phenomenon occurs due to the fact that patients in the first stages of this illness are more aware of their clinical state, which in turn inhibits their social skills. The awareness of something being wrong is extremely hard to overcome, which will negatively effect interactions with other people.
By creating daily activities that help patients bond with their caregivers is a great opportunity for them to reach a daily sense of happiness and fulfillment. Teepa has over three decades of experience in the caregiving field, and she is on the road most of the year educating healthcare providers and families on ways to interact with their loved ones on a more personal level. She explains that by establishing meaningful interactions, you allow the patients to go through this illness with dignity. Teepa also teaches the importance of balance when creating a schedule for people with dementia. Caregivers have to be very careful to not overstimulate patients, and allow time for them to de-stress, as well as engage in a wide range of fitness activities such as walking and balance.
Ms. Snow also points out the importance of setting up a stable activity schedule for people who are living with dementia. She describes patients who become easily overwhelmed and must be introduced to a balanced day that can give them a chance to relax and focus. Separating people who are in different stages of the disease is also important, because they could become irritated and more confused by their surroundings.
It is no easy feat to become a caregiver for people with dementia- whether you are a professional caregiver or a family member. Local groups and online communities are a good source of support for anyone that needs an extra hand. Teepa Snow also suggests that people need to continuously readjust their expectations and diversify the activities schedule as their loved ones progress towards the disease.