Taking care of seniors can be challenging. But taking care of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be extra challenging. It requires a lot of patience and compassion.
Caring for someone with dementia at home can be frustrating. As the disease progresses, it gets more and more difficult and complicated to care for your loved one. However, there are things you can do to make it easier both on your part and your loved one. With these practical tips, you will be able to manage daily tasks more effectively.
How to Care for Someone with Dementia at Home?
Dementia care at home is a complex and frustrating task. But it is not impossible. Just be realistic about it. It’s important that you know in advance that behavioral and cognitive changes brought about by dementia can make it very difficult to take care of your loved one. Their behavior may be unpredictable, and they may even resist care.
Nevertheless, you can manage tasks better if you understand the disease. Remember that symptoms will increase as dementia progresses. Understand the stages of Alzheimer’s so you can better identify the symptoms being exhibited, and in the process, learn how to address these changes.
How do you care for a parent with dementia?
One important component of dementia or Alzheimer’s care is proper communication. If you can develop great communication with your loved one, you can better understand them and improve your care and relationship with them.
How to Communicating with a Person with Dementia
Here are some communication tips you can follow when caring for someone with dementia at home:
- Communicate with your loved one in a respectful manner. They may not understand your words fully, but they will be able to read through the tone of your voice, facial expressions, and actions.
- Before you speak, get the person’s attention. Address him or her by name, use nonverbal cues, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly.
- Speak clearly and slowly in a reassuring and respectful tone. Use simple words and repeat as needed when the person doesn’t understand you. Never raise your voice.
- When you’re asking, it’s best if you ask questions answerable by a yes or no. Be patient when your loved one is struggling to give a reply. Help them out or observe their body language and nonverbal cues. Respond with reassurance and compassion. Make them feel that you are there for them. This will help ease down their anxiety and confusion.
- Encourage your loved one to perform certain tasks. Break down these activities into simpler steps so that the tasks are much more manageable. Be supportive.
- People with Alzheimer’s and dementia can easily get frustrated, upset, and agitated. When this happens, try the distract and redirect approach. Set a positive mood. Maintain great social skills and a sense of humor when communicating.
- Seniors with dementia remember distant memories better than short-term ones. So focus on the good old days. This is mentally and emotionally reaffirming on their end.
Dementia Care at Home: Step by Step Plan
You need a step-by-step plan in order to better address the needs of your loved one. Their needs will modify as the disease progresses. By closely coordinating with their physician, you can better plan your dementia care. Making a home safer.
Part of your dementia or Alzheimer’s care plan is to make the home safer for your loved one. Make some changes in the home, especially when your loved one transitions to a moderate stage of dementia. They become more prone to fall and injury as their condition worsens. Hence, make the home as comfortable and safer as possible.
You can consider the following things in order to make the home safer:
- Assess the home and see which parts are likely to pose problems to your loved one’s safety. The usual parts include the garage, basement, workshop, and the yard. Store away from chemicals, cleaning supplies, tools, and other things that may be hazardous.
- Make the kitchen safer. Prevent possible catastrophes by removing items that may be injurious to your loved one. Lock sharp utensils. Use appliances that automatically shut off. Prevent your loved one from using the stove.
- Always keep emergency numbers and addresses within your sight.
- Regularly check if smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other emergency tools are working properly.
- Keep the rooms, hallways, bathrooms, entryways, doorways, and staircases well-lit.
- Place grab bars and make necessary adjustments in the bathroom to prevent your loved one from slipping or getting injured.
- Make necessary changes as the condition progresses. There may be special considerations that you need to account for.
How to overcome caregiver stress while caring for a parent with dementia
When you’re caring for someone with dementia at home, you need to prepare for the worst. Stress levels get higher as your loved one transitions to severe stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It helps to compare notes and get help from a social worker who is experienced in working with personal caregivers. You can learn strategies and coping mechanisms from an experienced professional. You can also hire a qualified dementia caregiver for respite care. In this way, you can have some time for yourself.
To ease down your stress level and cope with the growing demands of your task of caring for an ailing loved one, here are some things you can follow:
- You need to look after yourself as well. Having “personal time” is essential for your well-being. When you’re well, you can better take care of your loved one.
- Take breaks so you can avoid getting burnout. Caregiving can be stressful and overwhelming.
- You need a strong support system. Never do everything on your own.
Not all with dementia or Alzheimer’s experience the disease the same way. Their symptoms and progression may vary. You need to tailor your care according to the unique needs of your loved one. When caring for someone with dementia at home, the most important thing is to be patient and flexible. Be understanding, compassionate, and loving.