Providing care for a person with dementia can feel as frustrating as trying to comprehend quantum physics. It entails attempting to make sense of what appears nonsensical, and responding in ways that seem contrary to everything you’ve thought until now. However, by implementing a few simple dementia caregiving tips, you can feel well informed and effective in your role, and help the individual you love feel accepted, understood, and content.
How Can I Provide Better Dementia Care?
Focusing on these tips for dementia caregiving is a great starting point to overcome some of the typical obstacles to providing the best dementia care.
- Accept your flaws. First and foremost, extend yourself the grace of being human. There will be plenty of times you wish you had managed an issue in a different way, and that’s ok. Forgive yourself fully, and learn from what happened.
- Don’t be bound by reason. With Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, traditional logic and reasoning are frequently totally unproductive. As opposed to engaging in a debate over something you disagree on, like the need to get dressed, switch to using simple, straightforward, and short statements, like: “Let’s put this pretty sweater on.”
- Sometimes, a little white lie is best. With dementia, honesty just isn’t always the best policy. It could result in confusion, agitation, and a meltdown. If the person believes they are an employee of the doctor’s office, play along with this alternate reality, perhaps by providing a briefcase and some “paperwork” to take to the next appointment.
- Leave extra time and space for independence. You might find it easier to take charge of all of the day-to-day responsibilities the older adult can no longer do easily or quickly. Unfortunately, in attempting to minimize the person’s frustration, you could end up hampering their sense of self-worth. If dressing alone takes twice as long, plan for that extra time so no one feels rushed.
- Make questions simpler. It might seem perfectly reasonable to ask the senior what they would like for lunch, or what they want to do that day. However, if the person is unable to articulate an answer, it could result in irritation that may rapidly escalate. A yes or no question may be more effective: “Would you like a salad for lunch?” Or, simply tell the individual: “Let’s visit the park after lunch!”
- Remind yourself that it’s ok to ask for assistance. Caring for someone with dementia is not a solo task. Dementia care, especially as the disease progresses, is a 24/7 endeavor, and trying to do it all on your own is a guaranteed way to experience burnout. When someone offers a bit of support, take it, and provide specific tasks you need assistance with. If no one offers, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can Home Care Help Someone With Dementia?
Definitely! One of the best ways to provide the best care for somebody you love with dementia is by partnering with a dementia care expert. At Live Free Home Health Care, our caregivers are fully trained and experienced in creative, effective approaches to dementia care, and we’re here to help seniors age at home in Concord, NH and the surrounding areas. Give us a call at 603-217-0149 to learn how we can help.