Caring for elders with dementia takes patience, compassion and understanding. The ways we manage the disease both as family cares and in the California elderly home care setting are changing.
In this article, we’ll look at new approaches to caring for an elder with dementia.
1. Find Purpose in Seemingly Random Behavior
Those with dementia may feel trapped in their own body. They may not be able to communicate when they’re in pain, hear something curious or want something. This can lead to seemingly irrational behaviors.
Some people with dementia become angry, paranoid, agitated or afraid. These emotions have triggers. It could be a certain song, the sound of a bread mixer or a statement.
Those who care for elders with dementia should approach all behavior as an effort to communicate as we try to understand.
2. Initiate exercise
This is particularly helpful if your loved one likes to wander or perform unsafe activities unattended. Head them off by filling that need that most of us have for movement.
Depending on the ability of your loved one, go for a walk, do chair yoga, dance in bed to a favorite tune, play a mimicking game, fold some clothes or snap some green beans for dinner.
Feeling productive and expending bottled up energy can make emotions and actions more manageable.
3. Use Gentle Touch
Human touch is a very human need. This could be a re-assuring hand squeeze, a light massage, a soft arm caress and foot massage or a friendly hug.
Research shows that that various kinds of touch can:
- Enhance attentiveness
- Alleviate symptoms of depression
- Reduce Pain
- Reduce stress hormones
- Improve immune system
Many elderly and those with dementia are deprived of human touch, which can worsen symptoms.
4. Develop Routines
Those with dementia can begin to feel that one day morphs into the next. Without stimulation, they decline at a faster rate. Routines empower a person with dementia to take more control in their own life and stay well longer.
Do certain things around the same time of day like going for a walk, having tea, reading a book or bathing. Anticipating an activity and performing routines can help in managing the disease.
5. Acknowledge Feelings & Distract
If you’re loved one seems angry or sad, acknowledge the feelings and then redirect their energy away toward conversation, snack time, story time, etc. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can break a negative thought pattern through redirecting that energy in a productive way.
Never disregard the feelings. Behavior will only get worse if the person feels like feelings aren’t validated.
Suspicion, hallucinations, confusion, anger, wandering and apathy — all common dementia symptoms — can be redirected with kind and understanding redirection.
6. Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important things you can do to help your loved one with dementia is to take care of yourself.
In a dementia care setting you may experience,
- Psychological abuse from the loved one
- Compassion fatigue
- Physical fatigue
- Lack of exercise
- Failure to take care of your own nutritional needs
- Missing out on social interactions
- Neglecting own self-care to care for another
35% of those caring for loved ones with dementia strongly feel that it affects their health.
If you’re not healthy, you can’t be there for your loved one.
In addition, you could be shorting your own life and quality of life.
Take care of yourself by:
- Not neglecting personal needs
- Doing things you love to do
- Insisting on financial or physical support from siblings and others involved
- Researching custodial and caregiving services
- Finding out how skilled nursing and therapy care in the home can help your loved one
- Investigating respite care options … hiring a professional to care for your loved one while you go out on a date, go shopping, take a weekend trip to see your favorite band or do whatever helps you take care of you.
Get Trusted Support: California Elderly Home Care
Dynamic Home Care is dedicated to helping those caring for a loved one get the support they need. We provide comprehensive case management, custodial care, personal care services, respite care as well as in-home nursing and therapy services. Each person with our company understands the struggles of caring for one with dementia and as a California elderly home care agency we have the knowledge and skills to help you and your loved one.
Call us today to learn more.