Caring for a Loved One With Dementia: The New Normal
There’s no question of whether or not it’s hard to take care of a loved one with dementia. Unfortunately we as caregivers can’t be sure of what’s happening in their head, so it’s hard for us to know how they are feeling, what they remember, and what they need. Often times we do what we think is best but it ends up making matters worse. That’s why we’re providing you with five tips on how to best care for a grandparent, parent, sibling, or friend with dementia…
1. Be Straightforward
To find out what someone wants we typically ask questions, but people with Dementia often don’t have the logic or words to come up with responses and will only become flustered. So instead of asking, “What do you want to wear today?”, try saying, “We’re going to get dressed now” and have one or two clothing options ready.
2. Take the Help People Offer
As caretakers we sometimes feel that we should be able to handle it all, but it takes a toll trying to take care of yourself and another person. When people offer to help you, it’s probably because they truly want to, so say yes! Even if it’s just bringing dinner over once a week, that’s one less thing for you to think about. It’s important to think about your overall mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing as well as your loved one’s.
3. Limit Distractions
It’s easy for people with Dementia to become distracted or forget who they are talking to. When talking to your loved one, turn off the television, radio, or any other distracting noises to ensure that your voice is the only thing he or she has to focus on. Identify clearly who you are and what you are talking about, and maintain eye contact to keep their attention.
4. Simplify Tasks
When assisting your loved one in going to the bathroom, eating, getting dressed, or other daily activities, they may become overwhelmed at the simplest task. Remember to have patience and try to break down the task into smaller, simpler ones. For example, getting dressed may seem daunting to your loved one, but you can make it easier for them by taking it one step at a time.
5. Go Along With the Ride
Knowing and accepting ahead of time that it will be a long road ahead with your loved one is key. Be prepared for the worst so that you can approach situations in a calm and relaxed manner. Those with Dementia get easily confused and angered, so showing signs of your own stress will only bring them more. Some days your loved one may revert back in time and think they are someone else. Trying to correct them and explain otherwise will only frustrate both of you more. Take it day by day and remember to remain at ease.
Check our Assisted Living Blog each month for new helpful tips and information on caring for loved ones. Contact The Inn at Belden Village today for more information about our assisted living, or to schedule a free lunch and tour of our facility.