New Hampshire senior care

In our last blog post, we shared some tips on easing the struggles of providing personal care assistance to a senior loved one. But what about providing care specifically for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

At Live Free Home Health Care of New Hampshire, we understand the unique challenges of providing dementia care, particularly when it comes to personal care needs. Even something as simple as getting dressed can easily become overwhelming. Following are some tips that work well for our specially trained dementia caregiving team, and we believe will help you as well:

Encourage Independence

  • Enable the person with dementia to make choices and accomplish as much as possible independently. It may take extra time, but is well worth it to build up self-esteem.
  • Allow the person to retain his or her own sense of personal style. Photographs can be helpful to remember preferred hairstyles, make-up or accessories.

Make the Person Comfortable

  • Allow plenty of time. A person with dementia may take longer to process information, and patience is the key.
  • Be tactful. Reminding someone that his clothing needs to be changed can make him feel embarrassed.
  • If the person has trouble balancing, allow her to sit in a suitable chair while getting dressed.
  • Several thin layers of clothing are better than one thick layer, so layers can be removed if it gets too warm. Keep in mind that the person may not be able to tell you when he is too hot or cold, so keep an eye out for signs of discomfort.

Keep It Simple

  • Too many options can be confusing. Clear away clutter and make suggestions one at a time or only offer two options.
  • Lay out clothes on a non-patterned background in the order the person will put them on. Try to keep to the person’s preferred routine – for example, she may like to put on her underwear and socks before putting on anything else.
  • If the person is confused, give instructions in small steps, such as, “Now put your arm through the sleeve.” It may help to use gestures to demonstrate.

Accept Imperfection

  • Respect the person’s choice, even if it does not match or is a bit odd. As long as it does no harm, it’s best not to have a confrontation.
  • Consider putting potentially harmful items out of sight (such as a long coat that could cause a fall).
  • If mistakes are made, such as a backwards shirt, be tactful, or find a way for you both to laugh about it.

Eliminating Battles

  • If the person wants to wear the same outfit every day, purchase several of the same outfit.
  • If the person is reluctant to change, encourage her by having her change for a special occasion or a visit with a friend. If resistance continues, try again later.
  • Remove dirty clothing and put clean clothing in its place when the person is bathing.
  • Some people with dementia may undress at an inappropriate time. Quickly assess the situation and ask yourself if the person could be bored, tired, hot, cold, sensitive to a texture, frightened of something unfamiliar or need to use the bathroom.

For more tips or to inquire about our specialized Alzheimer’s care in New Hampton, Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Gilford, Sandwich and throughout the Lakes region, give us a call at 603-217-0149 or complete our simple online contact form and share more about how we can help you.

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