Caring for a Loved One with Dementia or Alzheimers
Caring for a loved one with dementia, regardless of whether or not they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be a long, challenging and frustrating road. Every individual exhibits dementia in different ways. There is no one solution to caring for a loved one with dementia, but there are strategies to assist in best dealing with the circumstances. Below are universal tips to help you care for a loved one with Dementia
- Be Realistic about understanding their Capabilities
We oftentimes remember our parents as being Superman and Wonder Women. But, that is not who they are today. It is important to understand and be realistic about what their capabilities are today. For instance, they can feed themselves, but they may not remember that it is time for breakfast or how to prepare the meal. Be realistic and support them in continuing to do activities that they can do.
- Don’t Do For Them What they Can Do for themselves
The old adage says “if you don’t use it you will lose it. “ The same is true for the mind. We want to encourage and support our loved one’s with safe and appropriate activities that are stimulating. Although they used to do the NY Times crossword, they may not be able to do that today, but can do a large print general crossword. Focus on what they can do, not want they can’t do.
- Do Not Become frustrated with them but sympathize with them
Many clients with dementia will tell me that they recognize that they cannot do the things they used to do. It is very depressing for them to have the self-awareness that they are having memory problems or that they can’t recall the word for something or the name of the next door neighbor. Many children are frustrated. They tell me “Dad refuses to get dressed or won’t do something.” Ask yourself, “ Can Dad get dressed by himself?” Oftentimes, the answer is no. It is not that their loved one refuses or won’t do something, but they no longer can. At most stages of dementia, the loved one’s still react to emotions. Be supportive and focus on what they can do. Many are aware of the changes in them and are having a hard time dealing with it.
- Develop a Consistent Routine
Many Dementia clients have developed coping mechanisms to deal with the day to day. They have developed a routine, they have put up reminders, they wear the same clothes, eat easy to prepare foods. They have created a routine and supports for themselves. When you take them out of their routine, they no longer have supports and are completely dependent on the themselves in the moment or their loved one. It is important to create a consistent routine for them. They know what to expect and how to act. When change occurs, they don’t know how to react and can become anxious and scared.
- Be Prepared for Change.
One thing we do know about Dementia and Alzheimer’s is that it is progressive. Although there are actions we can take to slow the decline, we can’t stop it. Understand that what works today may not work tomorrow and you will have to reassess their needs over and over.
- Work with a Home Care Agency that specializes in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care
It is important to work with a home care agency that understand how to effectively work with clients that have Dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is important the caregivers are trained on how to gently handle difficult situations, redirect them and to engage them to their fullest to enhance their quality of life.
Alliance Senior Care has developed it’s exclusive Integrated Wellness Program that provides physical, social and cognitive activities into their care to support and enrich the lives of the clients that are suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Each client’s care is customized to their needs and their skills.
Call 248-274-2170 for more information on how Alliance Senior Care can assist you and your family in caring for their loved ones.
If you have a Veteran in your family who needs care, contact us for a consultation. Our caregivers can help facilitate this process by assisting with these calls and encouraging these activities.