When a family faces a problem of a hard disease such as dementia the question of proper care arises. You may not think of yourself as a proper caregiver, but with the right support and help it can be rewarding.
Even though it can be stressful at times, here you’ll find some tips on how to reduce frustration and create a safe space for both of you.
What kind of care do dementia patients need?
The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition. Their relationships, environment and support all shape their experience too.
In the early stages of dementia, nothing changes in everyday life, people still can enjoy their life as they used to. But as it progresses, it may cause frustration and stress. And you as a caregiver should support the person to maintain their skills and abilities.
- Help with everyday chores, like shopping, and gardening. You may create little memory aids (labels) around the house to help remember where things are.
- Keep a routine of bathing, dressing up and eating at the same time every day. While doing that also allows the person to do as much as possible by themselves.
- Help with eating or drinking. If the person can, involve them in the process of preparing food. Give them enough time to eat, if there is a problem using cutlery, offer finger food. Be ready that sometimes food preferences can change, so you have to be ready to introduce a variety of foods.
- Try to create to-do lists, and schedule appointments and other social events in a notebook or calendar. You can also develop a system of reminders, especially if the person is required to take regular medications.
- Help with toilet usage. However it may be hard, you have to be understanding that there is nothing you can do and it is not the person’s fault. You can make the sign on the toilet door, or simply leave the door open and keep the light on, especially at night. Try to walk a lot with the person, activity will help with bowel movement.
- Always be respectful and gentle. Remember, this person is somebody you care about, so to avoid stress and frustration, tell them what you are going to do while helping them with their daily routine.
Things to avoid with somebody who has dementia
Talking to people who suffer from dementia is very important but sometimes it can be hurtful. So you have to be very careful with your words and always consider the situation. Also, an important factor in conversation can be the type and stage of dimension.
- Avoid ‘going down memory lane” and remember something from the past. Not only it can be hurtful to remind about memory loss, but sometimes people may feel like they are being tested, which can be offensive.
- It may be extremely annoying to answer the same question several times, however, don’t try to tell them that you’ve just answered their question. It will not help them retain the information but is more likely to remind them about their condition. So be patient and take your time, maybe remove yourself from a conversation for a little while.
- Sometimes people forget about certain family members, and their passing away. So if the person asks you about late people don’t tell them that they died long ago, it may cause extra stress since they completely forgot about their death. Better ask why they are asking and what they are feeling about them.
- Don’t ask “ Do you remember me?”. It can be distressing when somebody can’t remember you, especially if you are in a close relationship. Asking the person if they know who you are can make them feel guilty or anxious if they don’t remember or offended if they do.
- Avoid using words like “love”, “dear”, and “honey”. If people were not referred to like this before they got dementia, it can be patronizing and infantilizing. Always use the person’s name, and remember that it is still that person who was before the diagnosis.
If all those tips do not help you and you still have a hard time taking care of somebody with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can contact MyLife Choice hospice care, and we will provide your loved ones with everything they need.