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As a caregiver to a loved one with dementia, you must understand that caring for them can be challenging. As the illness worsens, you will become more involved in handling daily tasks. But with patience and a few tips, you can help dementia patients participate in activities as much as possible. So, consider taking some of the tips in this article to help you care for your loved one.
Dementia is a syndrome, typically chronic or progressive in form, that causes a decline in cognitive function (i.e., the capacity for thought processing) and is more significant than what you may anticipate from the typical effects of biological aging. Memory, reasoning, direction, comprehension, computation, learning ability, language, and judgment are the most affected. However, your patient’s state of consciousness is unaffected.
In addition, their mood, emotional control, behavior, or motivational changes frequently precede and accompany the deterioration in their cognitive performance. There are different stages of dementia, but once you notice that your loved one starts to forget some basic information like their name, what day of the week it is, what they had for breakfast, and others, it might be time for them to get checked out. And if you do not have an insurance plan covering such illness, you can check out some Assurance options for health insurance for them.
Tips to help care for someone with Dementia
- Be open to communicating and interacting in the new ways they do
It is common for dementia patients to lose the ability to communicate and comprehend as their condition worsens, so caring for them requires effective communication. You may interact better with them if you are willing to accept them as they are right now. Proper communication can also assist you in navigating how to appropriately react to the difficult circumstances that will undoubtedly emerge, such as when they continually ask the same question, forget something crucial, or act up.
When speaking with older adults with dementia, maintain eye contact and try as much as possible to engage in the conversation they have with you. Speak softly and kindly to them, try not to make them feel bad for forgetting things, and always help them recall information they have difficulty remembering.
- Avoid stressing, agitating, and frustrating your loved one.
Dementia often makes handling stress and occasional confusion more challenging. When once-easy activities become challenging, a person with dementia may get irritated. As such, it is imperative you avoid putting your loved one in situations that lead to conflict or unneeded change.
To avoid stress and unnecessary conflicts, try establishing a daily routine. Also, avoid hastening them when they are doing some activities, provide choices for them to choose from, always listen to what they want, and encourage them to exercise and do some fun activities to keep them happy and active.
- Be flexible
Older adults with dementia will gradually become more and more dependent. To reduce frustration, be flexible and alter your routine and expectations as needed. For example, if your loved one wants to wear the same thing every day, consider purchasing a few identical outfits. Also, if taking a bath is met with resistance, consider doing it less frequently.
- Create a safe environment for them.
If you care for your loved one in your house, keep their environment safe and as accident-free as possible. Ensure that no harmful objects are lying around, make sure you put locks in cabinets and doors, keep the floor clean, and install grabs on the stairs and critical areas.
- Show them love and affection.
Dementia is a challenging phase in the older stage of life, so ensure that the elderly individual in your care feels loved and cared for as they go through different stages of this illness. Show support and affection to them, and let them know they are doing great. Encouragement goes a long way in creating a sense of safety and fulfilment as they navigate the unknowns associated with the illness.