At times, the most beneficial lessons in life arise through experiencing them firsthand; yet the wisdom we are able to discover from those who’ve walked a similar road before us is priceless. If you are providing care for someone you care about with dementia and feeling a bit overwhelmed in this uncharted territory, these recommendations might help dementia caregivers:
- A brief break often makes all the difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it is a good idea to pause whatever activity or task she is taking part in, and allow the chance for a break. Change the environment by moving into a different room or outside the house if weather permits, play some favorite music, browse a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you can attempt the task once again, often with much better results.
- Stop rationalizing. Trying to prove a point or win an argument is seldom effective when speaking with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the individual’s brain functioning is changed, and as long as no harm will likely be done, allow the older adult to maintain her own personal reality.
- Conquer denial. While it might be human nature to want to deny that there is an issue, identifying signs and symptoms of dementia and pursuing medical assistance as quickly as possible is very important to obtain the medical care and treatment necessary.
- Check medications. The side effects of certain prescription drugs may actually cause more confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Come up with a comprehensive list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and evaluate with the senior’s physician to confirm that the benefits exceed any negative effects.
- Take proper care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are serious issues for family members caring for a loved one with dementia. Make certain you are making plenty of time for self-care, socialization, and hobbies which you enjoy. Your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and refreshed.
- Keep in mind that life can be fulfilling with dementia. While the person you love is going through some hard changes, it’s important to appreciate that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring joy regardless of the disease. Explore different sorts of activities for the senior to enhance socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and stay physically active.
Live Well at Home, expert providers of home care in Sacramento and the surrounding areas, is always here to supply the support you need to make sure your family member with dementia is able to live life to the fullest. Give us a call at 800-478-1209 for more information regarding our highly skilled in-home dementia caregivers for seniors and the communities we serve.