Caring for people with dementia can be an immensely difficult and demanding task with long hours and a never-ending to-do list. But it’s also a way for you to help someone who truly needs it.
The more you can learn about caring for someone with dementia, the easier your days will be and the happier your loved one will remain.
Difficulties Involved in Caring for People with Dementia
If you’re already in this situation, you likely know the many challenges of caring for someone with dementia. It’s important to be aware of these factors so you can plan and prepare for them accordingly.
A person struggling with dementia will often have:
- Strong emotions as the disease progresses.
- Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
- Fatigue, weariness, and even exhaustion.
- Trouble handling their own finances, home maintenance, and other basic needs.
11 Tips You Can Use When Caring for People with Dementia
To help you be more prepared and feel more confident, here are a few of the dos and don’ts of caring for someone with dementia.
1. Maintain a Positive Attitude
When taking care of a person with dementia, a smile goes a long way. The more you can do to keep their environment warm and inviting, the happier they will be in return. Do what you can to keep a smile on your face and a sense of humor in light of the situation.
Help them find reasons to smile, laugh, and be joyful with each passing day. This will have a strong impact on their mood as you care for them.
2. Speak Clearly and Plainly
Along with dementia comes the difficulty of hearing and understanding what is going on around them. Whenever you are speaking to these individuals, make sure that you talk slowly and with simple sentences. You’ll find they are better able to comprehend your point and keep up with the conversation.
3. Find Ways to Get Their Attention
Whether your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it will become increasingly more difficult for them to remain focused. Take some time to discover what will attract their attention when you need to speak with them or assist them with something. These practices will make it easier for you to promote awareness and recognition of what is going on around them.
4. Focus on What They Need
Caring for someone with dementia is all about determining the best things you can do for them. Be keenly aware of them by listening and watching as they go throughout their day. The closer you pay attention to how they react and their behavior, the more easily you will understand what they need.
Along with the visual and audio clues, also focus on the unseen and unheard hints they give you as you are taking care of them.
5. Ask Simple Questions
The more complicated something is, the more likely someone with dementia is to get frustrated. If they are trying to get your help with something but can’t quite put it into words, take it upon yourself to find out what you can do. Ask basic yes or no questions to determine their needs.
Whether you are caring for a parent with dementia or someone else, you can also ask them to use hand signals or other clues to help you get an idea of how you can help them.
6. Distract Them When Needed
Even when things seem to be going great, it doesn’t take much for an individual with dementia to get flustered. When they get difficult, frustrated, or just plain grumpy, discover things you can do to divert their attention to something.
Have games, activities, and other simple tasks readily available to use at a moment’s notice to ensure they don’t get overly disgruntled.
7. Show Affection
Personal touch is one of the strongest ways to help when caring for someone with dementia at home. This can be as simple as placing your hand on their arm or around their shoulder. Feel free to also give them an occasional hug or a simple kiss on the cheek as well so they know you love and care about them.
8. Give Them Basic Instructions to Follow
Whenever you need someone with dementia to do something, it is vital that you tell them in the most simple way possible. The more basic your instructions, the easier it will be for them to understand and act on your request.
9. Offer Kind Encouragement
As you go through your days caring for a loved one with dementia, they may run into roadblocks or become discouraged as they recognize the effects of the disease. Always do what you can to lead their mind in the other direction with words of encouragement and affirmation. It is okay to acknowledge things rather than dismiss them, but never spend time lingering on how unfortunate the circumstances may be.
10. Reminisce With Them
Seniors of all ages love to remember their past, regardless of whether they have dementia or not. Take some time every now and then to look back at old photos or family videos to help them remember “the good old days”. This is a great way to boost their mood and lead their attention away from sad thoughts or memories.
11. Be Willing to Ask for Help
This one is more for you as a caregiver than for the individual you are taking care of with dementia. The tasks that come with this major responsibility are too much for any one person to bear alone. Make sure that you ask someone for help on occasion so you can take a break every now and then.
Need Help With Caring for Someone with Dementia?
Following the suggestion in number 11, seeking out help with your loved one is crucial to your own health and wellness. There are many options available such as your family members, friends, or home care professionals.
The team at Pacific Angels Home Care is dedicated to providing top-quality care for seniors. Often considered better than caring for dementia patients in a nursing home, we will take care of your loved ones within the comfort and safety of their own homes.
If you’d like to learn more about our services and the ways we can help you, please call us today at (831) 708-2876!