According to the World Health Organization 47.5 million people have dementia. It is likely at some point, you will need to care for someone with dementia whether it is a friend or a family member. Caring for someone with dementia can be extremely challenging. Here are some ways that you can help your loved one.
Doing some research and understanding how dementia changes the brain will allow you to be more helpful as you care for your loved one. Often dementia can cause aggressive behavior, angry outbursts and other behaviors that you would not expect from your loved one. When you firmly grasp that it is the dementia causing these behaviors, it will be easier not to take it personally. You will also be prepared for the various stages of dementia and know what to expect at each stage so that alarming behaviors won’t be too devastating.
Adjust your expectations
Don’t expect to have logical conversations or your loved ones to remember significant people or places. If the information is not significant to their safety, you may want to play along instead of correcting your loved one. You may find that you have more uplifting conversations when you join in, rather than constantly trying to correct your loved ones. The Family Caregiver Alliance also suggests discussing the distant past rather than more recent events. Many people suffering from dementia can remember events in the past more clearly than events that happened that day. Bring up fond childhood memories and friends and relatives from the past, rather than asking about a recent social event or a new friend in their living facility.
Don’t put your loved one on the spot. Instead of asking your loved ones “Do you know who this is?” tell them “This is your granddaughter Marie, she is here to visit you” Asking leading questions can make your loved one feel more confused and flustered and other people’s feelings may be hurt when they don’t remember.To help your loved ones remember friends and family members you can make books with labeled pictures and stories.
Making daily schedules and posting them around their living space will help them know what to expect each day. Give your loved one plenty of warning if there will be a change to their routine. The fewer surprises and changes you introduce into their routine, the less flustered and aggravated your loved one will feel.
Your loved one may not be able to accurately communicate how they are feeling, but sickness can easily impact their behavior and well being. Watch for signs of discomfort, lethargy and even fever. If something seem doesn’t seem right with your loved one, don’t hesitate to take them to the doctor. You will also want to monitor their medications carefully. You can administer the medications yourself or hire someone to administer them. Royal Gardens offers medication services in their assisted living facilities. It is important that medications aren’t confused because this can be detrimental to both physical health and behavior.
Take Care of Yourself
Providing care for a loved one with dementia can be extremely taxing, both emotionally and physically. You may want to find a counselor or support group that can help you process everything that you are going through. When you are healthy, you can provide better care for your loved one. Don’t ever feel afraid to ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Showing You Care
All of your efforts will show your loved one that you care. It can be extremely challenging to communicate with and provide care for a loved one with dementia. Be patient and use all the resources available to determine the best ways to care for your loved one. While they may not know how to acknowledge it, your loved one will feel cared for when you go the extra mile to look out for their well being.