Tips for Helping a Loved One With Dementia
Taking care of a loved one with dementia can be mentally and physically challenging. Dementia patients experience a progressive biological brain impairment that makes it difficult to make reasonable decisions, remember or understand things, communicate with others, or even care for themselves.
Dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s can also cause mood swings, or even personality changes. Unfortunately, these patients usually don’t understand the reasons for these changes, creating more stress for their families and caregivers. Here are some practical tips for helping a loved one with dementia.
Be proactive rather than reactive
Since dementia is progressive, you will need to regularly evaluate how much support and memory care your loved one needs. As a care provider, you need to recognize when a loved one issue is becoming a pattern and be quick to find a solution. It’s vital to be proactive instead of reactive when caregiving for a loved one with dementia.
However, determining the exact time to make these protective decisions can be difficult. If you are having difficulty determining when your loved one needs more support or what more care looks like, a home safety checklist for dementia patients can help you evaluate:
- Your loved one’s risk
- If there are gaps in care
- Whether there are safety concerns
- The next step to take
Find new ways to interact and communicate
The best support you can give a loved one who has recently been diagnosed with dementia is acceptance of their condition. Accepting the new normal and planning for the future is not easy, but even a simple reinforcement can give your loved ones a sense of reassurance that someone cares for them.
To make communication effective, try to break down long sentences or ideas into simpler words and give one instruction at a time. Ensure you slow your pace of speech and use gestures or eye contact to deliver your message.
A person with dementia will eventually become more dependent, so you need to stay flexible to avoid frustration and change your routine and expectations according to the situation. For instance, if your loved one wants to wear the same clothes every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. If they are resistant to bathing, consider doing it less often. A full bath two to three times a week is enough.
Ask for help
A caregiving job can be demanding, and there will be certain moments when you will require assistance or someone to talk to. Fortunately, there are support groups for the elderly loved ones and caregivers who understand the struggle and are willing to share their stories, resources, and help. These groups can play a vital role in educating others, creating awareness about the condition, and can help resolve the assumptions and myths linked with dementia.
Care providers usually find it difficult to talk about the stress involved with caregiving. If you feel like you are not managing it, don’t feel guilty but instead look for help and support. As a caregiver, you can highly benefit from counseling and speech therapy. Talk to your general practitioner, and if you prefer, you can directly look for psychological therapy services.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well-reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.