At times, the greatest lessons in life come from going through them firsthand; yet the information we can discover from those who’ve traveled a similar course before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a loved one with dementia and beginning to feel a bit bogged down in this uncharted territory, the guidelines below might help:
• A brief break can make a significant difference. As soon as your senior loved one is struggling with challenging feelings, such as fear or anger, it is advisable to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is involved in, and allow a chance for a breather. Modify the surroundings by going into a different room or outside the house if weather allows, play some favorite music, take a look at a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, it is possible to attempt the task once again, more often than not with far better results.
• Let go of rationalizing. Hoping to establish a point or win a disagreement is almost never successful when speaking with a senior with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the individual’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will likely be done, allow the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
• Address denial. While it may be human nature to want to deny that there is a problem, identifying warning signs of dementia and seeking medical assistance as soon as possible is necessary to receive the medical care and treatment needed.
• Check medications. Some medicines’ side effects have the ability to cause confusion and cognitive problems even more than the disease itself. Come up with a detailed listing of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review with the senior’s doctor to make sure that the benefits surpass any side effects.
• Take care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant risks for family members caring for someone with dementia. Ensure that you are carving out enough time for self-care, socialization, and hobbies that you enjoy. Bear in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and refreshed.
• Realize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Even though the person you love is going through some challenging changes, it’s beneficial to know that life, while different, can certainly still be meaningful and bring happiness regardless of the disease. Consider different kinds of fun-filled activities for the senior to boost socialization, boost memory and cognitive functioning, and stay physically active.
Responsive Home Care is always available for supporting someone with dementia to make sure the person can live life to the fullest in the comfort of home. Contact us online or call us at 954-486-6440 for more information on our highly specialized in-home dementia care for seniors.