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Caring For a Loved One With Dementia

By The WellNest Company

Caring for senior parents is not easy, and dementia care can be daunting, especially when they are stubborn. Resisting care and digging in their heels are two hallmarks of dementia. But it may not be as challenging as you would expect. Whether you care for a parent or senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, the right attitude is crucial to success.

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges. People with dementia from conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and take care of themselves. Dementia may also cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality and behavior. 

Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices. Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable.

Respond with affection and reassurance. People with dementia often feel confused and anxious, and get reality confused. They may recall things that never really occurred. Avoid trying to convince them they’re wrong.  focus on the feelings they are demonstrating and respond with verbal and physical expressions of comfort, support, and reassurance.

How this can help seniors:

Improve communication and relationship
We aren’t born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementia—but we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

Develop a positive mood for interaction. 
Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.

Familiarity and Quality of Life
The greatest value that home care offers is allowing elders to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This option is far less disorienting for a senior with dementia than a move to an assisted living facility, a memory care unit or a nursing home. Familiar environments offer a great deal of security and peace of mind for individuals with dementia.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Prevent unnecessary risk of falls. Declutter your house to make sure you have plenty of space to walk around. Less clutter also means less risk of falls. 

Tip #2 – Easily reduce the risk of laundry fire. Don’t leave your dryer running when you are sleeping, or not at home.

Tip #3 – Use caution when driving at night. Avoid driving at night. However, if you must driver while it’s dark outside, make sure to use well-lit streets, well-known roads and try to have a friend or family member accompany you. 

Tip #4 – Protect yourself with a fanny pack. Consider replacing your purse with a fanny pack – it’s more accessible to you and harder to reach by any potential thieves.

Read about kitchen fire safety in the next articles.

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