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5 Helpful Caregiving Tips for Those Living With Dementia ”
Dementia is an impaired mental condition caused by damage to brain cells. It causes a loss of memory. Our brain cells lose the capacity to communicate between themselves and reduce our ability to make connections between action and information.
Dementia is most commonly seen in people aged over 65. Although many significant changes in memory take place over the years due to aging, dementia is not an age-specific condition. It can happen to anyone.
That brings us to the fact of caregiving. For people living with dementia, it can be hard to cope up. In this article, we have compiled 5 helpful caregiving tips for dementia care. If that resonates with you, just keep on reading.
Complexities of Dementia Care
Dealing with dementia can be hard for both the person suffering from the disease and their caregiver. The biggest complexities that occur with dementia care are mostly emotional and somewhat financial.
And if you’re thinking about keeping the patient home, there must be a common ground and a caregiving plan to follow. Having an experienced caregiver can go a long way in easing the troubles for everyone present in the home.
The family members also take time to get accustomed to the novelty of the condition. Having resources to get educated can be of great help in times like this.
It becomes progressively more confusing for the person suffering and hard to go on with daily life.
Many people often look for a middle ground where-
- They don’t have to send out the patient to nursing homes and
- They don’t have to spend hours after the patient.
So, they settle for in-home dementia care.
Long story short, expert care and empathy will become the driving forces in keeping your loved one happy.
5 Helpful Caregiving Tips
There are a plethora of steps that need to be followed when caring for a dementia patient. Depending on which stage of dementia your patient or loved one is in, the care will be different,
Below we have compiled a quick list of the 5 most helpful tips to care for those living with dementia regardless of age, gender, and the stage they are in. These tips will help you in keeping both yourself and your loved one happy and well cared for.
Patients Over Every Medication
Patience! Patience! And, Patience!
Just stating that as a mantra can be enough to scare people away. But it is true. Like every other condition out there, dementia takes time and practice to get used to.
The issue is, dementia can make people less responsive. It takes away the ability to connect the dots of a regular conversation.
A new caregiver will have difficulties adjusting to the varying needs and demands of their patients. Even at times, it becomes important that the caregiver takes care of oneself. The key here is to be patient with the suffering person.
Being patient and kind will get you a long way in keeping your loved ones comfortable while providing them the best care.
Yes or No Questions
What seems easy and accessible to you may not be the same for someone dealing with dementia. Harmless questions like “how was your day?” can send them down the spiral of confusion.
As a caregiver, you want to keep your patient away from any kind of stress and trauma. Open-ended questions, no matter how harmless or simple, can often cause unexpected episodes of stress in dementia patients.
Try to keep your questions short. It is always better if your questions can be answered with a simple yes or no.
With time, you will learn the difficulties your patient or loved one is facing, and you can alter your approach to them accordingly.
Depending on their particular stage of dementia, some people are okay with moderately elaborate questions and gestures. While others may find it incredibly hard to engage.
For starters, practicing open-ended questions is always a good idea.
Be Prepared to Introduce Yourself
If you are a family member who is caring for a dementia patient, this part might be hard for you. But your patient will inevitably forget many details over time. Names and faces can become hard to connect.
When you are caring for someone with dementia, it is very common for them to forget your name or how you are related to them. Try to be professional.
If it looks like they are often forgetting who you are, name tags can be very helpful. Try speaking to them in an assertive tone. Tell them your name and how you are connected to them.
And be prepared to do it again. Once your patient starts forgetting your name, it is likely to happen more frequently. It is better to be mentally prepared for that instead of responding in a crass way.
Make a Caregiving Plan
Over time a dementia patient might forget and lose control of making important financial decisions for their treatment.
As a caregiver, it is better to discuss with the patient beforehand regarding the person responsible to make decisions for them when they will be unable to do so themselves.
Having a full plan for their treatment will help your patients to be confident and comfortable in their position.
For this, you need to consult with your patient about the degree of care they might need. You will also have to analyze their health reports and mental condition.
It is best to have a meeting with their family members and sketch out the list of people who are willing to help. This can cover family, friends, relatives, even co-workers.
Collect their contact details and share the final plan with them, so that everyone is on board.
Caregiving is a noble pursuit to follow. As much as it is medical, it is more humane in nature. As a caregiver, you will be dealing with your patients’ moods and worries. It is not just about how much medicine to give them or how long they should sleep.
Caregiving is more personal and empathetic. As a caregiver, you have to actively practice empathy in your work and words. You have to make sure your patient feels safe with you.
Practicing empathy will help you care more vigilantly and cordially.
As a community, we should all be practicing safe habits and learning tips to care for those who can not care for themselves. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional caregiver or a family member looking for resources to care for those living with dementia.
We hope that this article helped you. And, we wish you all the best on your humbling journey of caregiving!
5 Helpful Caregiving Tips for Those Living With Dementia