Caring for someone with dementia can feel as difficult as trying to wrap your mind around quantum physics. It involves trying to make sense of what seems nonsensical, and responding in ways that seem counterintuitive to everything you have understood up to now. Yet with some simple strategies in your dementia care toolbox, you can feel well informed and effective in your role, and help the senior you love feel accepted, understood, and content.
How Can I Be a Better Dementia Caregiver?
Following these guidelines from our experts in non-medical home care in Towson, MD and the surrounding areas is an excellent starting place to overcome some of the common hurdles to providing the best dementia care.
- Come to terms with your flaws. First and most importantly, extend yourself the grace to be human. There will be lots of times you wish you had dealt with a situation differently, and that’s ok. Try not to blame yourself, and learn from the experience.
- Let go of reason. With Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, traditional reasoning and logic are often completely ineffective. Rather than engaging in a debate over something you disagree on, such as the need to eat dinner, pivot to using short, simple, and straightforward statements, such as: “Let’s take a few bites and then have dessert.”
- Sometimes, a little white lie is best. With dementia, honesty just isn’t always the best policy. It could lead to confusion, agitation, and a meltdown. If the senior believes they are an employee of the doctor’s office, play along with their alternate reality, maybe by giving them a briefcase and some “paperwork” to take along to the next visit.
- Leave extra time and space for independence. You might find it simpler to take control of all of the day-to-day tasks the older adult can no longer do easily or quickly. However, in seeking to minimize the senior’s frustration, you can be hampering their sense of self-worth. If getting dressed solo takes twice as long, plan for that additional time so neither of you feels rushed.
- Simplify questions. It might seem perfectly reasonable to ask the individual what they would like for supper, or what they would like to do that evening. However, if the person is not able to articulate their answer, it could lead to aggravation that may quickly intensify. A yes or no question may be more effective: “Would you like a salad for dinner?” Or, simply say to the person: “Let’s go to the park after supper!”
- Remind yourself that it is ok to ask for support. Caring for someone with dementia is not a solo task. Dementia care, particularly as the disease advances, is a 24/7 endeavor, and attempting to do it all on your own is a surefire way to experience burnout. When someone offers a helping hand, take it, and give them specific responsibilities you need assistance with. If no one offers, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can Home Care Help Someone With Dementia?
Yes! One of the best ways to ensure ideal care for a person you love with dementia is by partnering with a dementia care expert. At Absolute Companion Care, a trusted provider of non-medical home care in Towson, MD and the nearby areas, our staff are fully experienced and trained in creative, effective approaches to dementia care, and we’re here for you with as much or as little support as you need. Call us at 410-357-9640 and let us know how we can help.