Tips for Caring for Someone with Dementia
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that makes it difficult for people who have it to communicate with others, remember things, and care for themselves properly. Caring for someone with dementia is especially challenging when an affected person has drastic mood swings or unruly behavior.
To help you provide quality care, we’re providing 10 helpful tips for caring for someone with dementia.
Dealing With a Person With Dementia
A person living with dementia isn’t always able to communicate clearly with you, but you can learn better ways to communicate with them to keep the relationship healthy and everyone’s stress levels down.
The following 10 tips for caring for someone with dementia will help you improve your communication and caregiving skills.
1. Keep the mood light and positive. Your loved one will be able to interpret your attitude and body language better than how you speak to them. Be mindful of your tone of voice, facial expressions, and physical touch to send messages of empathy and compassion.
2. Get the person’s attention gently. Turn off noisy distractions in the house such as the TV, and call the person by their preferred name. Identify who you are and how you know them. Make eye contact, and use touch and other nonverbal cues to help them stay focused.
3. Communicate clearly and simply when caring for someone with dementia. Speak slowly using simple phrasing. Avoid raising your voice louder even if they don’t appear to understand you. Lower the pitch of your voice and repeat things as necessary or rephrase them. Use people’s names rather than pronouns.
4. Phrase questions so the person can answer them in simple terms, and avoid asking open-ended questions. Only ask one question at a time to avoid confusing them and don’t ask them to make too many choices at once. Use visuals when asking questions like, “Would you like ice cream or popcorn?”
5. Exercise patience when waiting for a response. Listen intently and watch for nonverbal signs and body language that indicate what they’re trying to tell you. Suggest words if they’re struggling to find the right ones. Try to understand the feelings and meaning behind their intentions.
6. Break down tasks and activities into a series of manageable steps when dealing with dementia. Encourage them to do what they can, and offer reminders as appropriate. Mimic the motions you want them to perform such as placing silverware in a drawer.
7. Redirect them or use distractions to help deescalate agitation. Change the topic or modify the environment. Suggest a calming activity like taking a walk or listening to music. Acknowledge how they feel, reconnect with them, and redirect to another activity.
8. Being affectionate and reassuring them is an important skill for dementia home care. It’s frustrating for loved ones when they feel confused, anxious, and can’t remember things. There’s no need to convince them they are wrong if they feel they are right. Acknowledge their feelings as being acceptable and respond with support and reassurance. A warm touch or hug is sometimes all that’s needed.
9. Draw from memories of the past when caring for someone with dementia. Many people with dementia struggle more with short-term memory than long-term memory. Rather than ask questions about what is going on in the present, stimulate their thinking by talking about some of their fondest past memories.
10. Embrace humor as healthy when looking after the elderly. Lighten up the mood by using humor. They’re likely to laugh right along with you.
Memory Tools for Dealing with Dementia
In addition to improving your communication skills, memory tools will help make life easier when caring for someone with dementia.
Here is a list of helpful strategies in care for dementia:
Create a calendar or to-do list so they don’t have to rely so heavily on their memories.
Set alarms or electronic reminders for important tasks such as taking medications or eating meals.
Establish regular routines so they know what to expect.
Simplify their routines such as putting out their clothing or hygiene products.
Label cabinets and doors so they can find things they need without having accidents.
Incorporate some of the things they enjoy into their routines that are productive and easy to do.
Encourage them to learn new things so they have a sense of accomplishment.
Dementia Home Care Services in Atlanta
Caring for someone with dementia can be frustrating and exhausting, dedicated as you may be. Don’t feel like you have to do it all alone.
In-home care services can help with many of the activities of daily living right in your loved one’s home.
Medi-Cure provides the following in-home services in Atlanta:
Grocery shopping and/or making meals
Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is challenging. If you’re stressed or feeling burned out in Atlanta, a certified caregiver from Medi-Cure is available to help. Call us today at 770-755-1394!