In the early stages of dementia, those affected require little care. This is the time family members need to learn about dementia, what to expect, and how to help their loved one as the disease progresses. Anyone in this situation can use the information here to discover how to help a loved one who is suffering from dementia.
Communication is Key
When it comes to providing help with elder family member suffering from dementia, communication is crucial. Over time, dementia will affect a person’s ability to communicate their emotions and thoughts. The individual may not know how to tell others what they need.
They may not know what is asked or requested of them, either. This is frustrating for everyone involved. Some steps can be taken to help reduce stress and improve communication.
The first is to be positive. Always keep body language and tone of voice clam. It’s also important to keep facial expressions controlled, speak pleasantly, and use touch when needed.
It’s also important to speak and make sure the individual knows they are being spoken too. When talking, stay calm and speak slowly, using simple phrases and words. Sometimes, it’s necessary for a person to repeat things several times when speaking to someone with dementia.
Don’t get frustrated if this occurs and try to stick to yes or no questions. It’s also important to recognize the individual’s feelings if they are upset, angry, or sad, don’t ignore it. Let the individual know they are understood and work to calm them as much as possible to ease the agitation and frustration.
Caregivers Need Care
When a family member becomes the caregiver for a loved one with dementia, they have to remember to care for themselves, too. If the caregiver becomes too frustrated or tired, they won’t be able to provide the level of care their loved one needs. The good news is, there are options to help caregivers get breaks when needed so they can recharge.
One option is to ask for help. Friends, other relatives, and local community organizations can provide this help. It’s also a good idea to join any local support groups. Many people are providing care for a loved one with dementia. Because of this experience, they may have tips for other caregivers about how they can cope and make this difficult situation easier.
A popular option for many caregivers is respite care. This is short-term care that is given to an individual with dementia. It gives the caregiver a break, and these services are often provided through local senior living organizations or social services agencies.
Adult daycare centers can also be a viable option, especially for caregivers who work. Not only does the individual with dementia receive the care needed, but they can also socialize.
Understand Dementia Caused Agitation
Sometimes, patients with dementia may become agitated. There are several reasons this occurs. If there is a sudden change in their surroundings or a frustrating situation develops, it can cause agitation. Moving to a new nursing home, the hospital, a new home, or apartment can also cause agitation.
Answering questions incorrectly and getting dressed improperly can also cause frustration. There are many other causes of agitation. This includes things like being challenged about why they are confused or the inability to do things they did before.
When agitation occurs, the individual with dementia may cry, seem irritated, and try to hurt people nearby. There are steps caregivers can take to help reduce their loved one’s agitation.
One option is to avoid overstimulation and loud noises. A pleasant and calm environment with people they know and things they are familiar with can help to ease anxiety and fear.
It’s also a good idea to set realistic expectations. If a caregiver expects too much from their loved one, it can cause everyone to feel upset and frustrated. Instead, allow the individual to help with more enjoyable and simple tasks.
Some things someone with dementia can help with include sorting photos, crafts, gardening, and meal prep. Take steps to make other tasks less complex, too. For example, rather than having the individual try to dress alone, let them do a single part of the outfit. By doing this, the person with dementia will feel accomplished but avoid getting frustrated and agitated.
Helping with Sleep Issues
Dementia may cause changes in a person’s sleep patterns. Someone with this condition may stay awake at night or become restless. They may also confuse day and night or sleep during the day. If the individual is having issues sleeping, consider using some of the following tactics.
It’s a good idea to create and keep a daily routine. Make sure it’s easy for the person to see what time it is and limit the amount of junk food consumed. It’s a good idea to make sure the individual with dementia gets some exercise each day, but don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
Limit naps and make sure the individual’s bedroom is peaceful and calming. If they are in pain, take steps to help eliminate the pain before sending the person to bed. Sometimes, this will require speaking with the person’s doctor.
Take Steps to Prevent Wandering
Someone with dementia may begin to wander. They may walk away from their home or nursing home without permission. It’s important to take steps to ensure this can’t happen, as wandering can lead to serious injuries and other problems.
There are several effective ways to help reduce cases of wandering. These things include blocking doors, installing an alarm system, installing special locks, and ensuring the individual with dementia has an ID bracelet they wear at all times. That way, if they wander, people will know who they are.
Living with Dementia
While dementia usually gets worse as time passes, there are steps that caregivers can take to help minimize the effects and frustrations of this condition. Use the tips and information here to do this effectively and to minimize the negative effects of this debilitating condition.