If only providing care for a loved one with dementia came with a handbook, rather than the trial-and-error-and-trial-again method so many of us are faced with. The different periods of the disease that must be worked through make it all the more challenging; as soon as we begin to feel fairly adept at handling one phase, we’re on to the next.
At Heaven at Home Senior Care, we recognize firsthand how difficult it can be to provide care for someone with dementia, and offer the following dementia care tips to keep in mind that may help:
- It is ok to make mistakes. Being human means being imperfect. It is inevitable that there will be times when you have good judgment and patience, and other times when exhaustion and irritation win over. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can; and be sure to set aside time to take care of yourself along the way.
- Redirection works better than correction. When someone with dementia is confused, using logic to try to reorient the person may end up in aggravation for both of you. As an example, if the person is searching for a childhood buddy, rather than explaining that this friend died a long time ago, ask the person to tell you a little more about the friend or to talk about a fun experience they shared.
- Don’t be afraid to accept your loved one’s alternate reality. In our society, we have been taught that honesty is the best policy, and being dishonest with a senior family member often just feels very wrong. Even so, if the senior truly is convinced he’s the author of the book you’re reading, it’s often a good idea to simply play along and maintain the peace.
- Be realistic about what the older adult can and cannot do. Although our habit may be to take control and take over everything for an individual with dementia, it’s far better to stop and see what he or she is still able to perform independently. Likewise, if the individual starts to experience irritation over a task, it’s time to step up and assist.
- Doctors can provide better care when you share. Be sure you discuss everything you’re seeing in your loved one with the physician during medical visits. He or she can only provide you with the most effective plan for treatment when all of the details are on the table.
Above all, it’s necessary for family members providing dementia care to develop a strong system of support. Heaven at Home Senior Care of Denton, TX is available to partner with you in providing specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s care; contact us at (866) 381-0500 for more dementia care tips and hands-on senior care assistance.