Caring for someone living with dementia can provide special challenges. Follow these tips to help you when taking care of an older adult with dementia.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, thinking, and reasoning skills that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. A person affected by Dementia may have problems with language, memory, behavior, and emotions.
There are several different kinds of Dementia:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
- Mixed dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Huntington’s disease
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
Caring for an individual who has Dementia can have many challenges. Listed below are some tips on how to overcome the challenges or barriers that are associated with caring for someone with dementia.
Communicating with someone who has Dementia can be one of the most challenging parts of their care. Because they may have difficulty with language, memory and emotions, they may have trouble expressing themselves and communicating clearly.
Use these tips when communicating with someone with Dementia:
- Limit distractions: Turn off the TV or radio or move to a quiet setting. Before speaking, make sure you have their attention. Identify yourself by name and relation, call them by their name, and maintain eye contact.
- Ask simple questions: Ask close ended questions where a simple “yes” or “no” answer will suffice. Ask one question at a time and avoid giving too many options.
- Be patient: When waiting for a response, be patient with the senior and give them time. You can help prompt them with words if they are having trouble finding the right ones.
- Be affectionate: Respond with physical expressions such as holding hands, touching, hugging and praise to help keep them encouraged.
- Give step-by-step instructions: You can make tasks more manageable by breaking down directions into simple steps.
Individuals with Dementia may forget to eat and drink, so their nutritional needs should be monitored closely. Here are some ways to help make sure they get the nutrition they need.
- Serve foods that are familiar to them.
- Offer snacks and small meals regularly.
- Give them one course at a time so they aren’t overwhelmed by options.
- Serve food on plain dishes. Avoid dishes that have patterns.
- Some individuals may have difficulty chewing or swallowing. Serve them foods that are easy to swallow. Eat with them so they can see you chewing.
- Set an alarm to remind them about mealtimes.
People with Dementia may have lost interest in maintaining their personal hygiene. Follow these tips to help them:
- Play calming music during bath time to help them relax.
- If they are calmer during certain parts of the day, use that time to do their hygiene routine.
- Give simple step-by-step instructions and be patient and encouraging.
- Pay attention to the environment, such as water temperature and lighting and make it comfortable for the senior.
Aggression, confusion and agitation can be very challenging for caregivers. Read more here and learn ways caregivers can help when these difficult situations arise.
Remember that living with dementia is extremely frustrating. In moments of awareness, a senior may be acutely aware of what they are losing in terms of mental acuity. Be supportive and patient. And don’t wait until your frustration becomes so great that you find yourself defensive or even offensive with your loved one – Assisting Hands Home Care serving Columbus, OH can give you the respite you need to rest and rejuvenate so you can offer your loved one your very best. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.