Sometimes, the most beneficial lessons in life come about by going through them firsthand; yet the wisdom we are able to glean from those who’ve walked a similar course before us is priceless. If you’re providing care for a family member with dementia and becoming a bit bogged down in this uncharted territory, the strategies below will help:
- A brief break could make all the difference. Whenever your loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s a good idea to stop whatever activity or task the person is engaged in, and allow the opportunity for a breather. Change the environment by moving into a new room or outside the house if the weather allows, play some favorite music, take a look at a scrapbook, or draw the person’s attention to different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, it is possible to try the task again, in many cases with far better results.
- Let go of rationalizing. Hoping to prove a point or win an argument is almost never useful when talking with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is modified, and as long as no harm will be done, allow the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
- Manage denial. Although it may be human nature to want to deny that there is a problem, recognizing the signs of dementia and seeking medical attention right away is necessary to receive the care and treatment needed.
- Check medications. The side effects of certain prescription drugs can in fact cause more confusion and cognitive problems than the disease itself. Put together an in-depth list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and evaluate together with the senior’s doctor to ensure that the benefits surpass any unwanted effects.
- Take care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant risks for family members caring for a loved one with dementia. Make sure you’re making some time for self-care, socializing, and activities which you enjoy. Keep in mind that your loved one will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and refreshed.
- Recognize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Although the person you love is going through some challenging changes, it’s very important to know that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness in spite of the disease. Explore different sorts of experiences for the senior to boost socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and stay physically active.
Hillendale Home Care, the top providers of respite care Walnut Creek and the surrounding area has to offer, is always here to provide additional tips for caregivers of dementia patients, along with the in-home support you will need to ensure your loved one is able to live life to the fullest. Contact us online or at 925-933-8181 for more information about our highly skilled in-home dementia care for seniors.