Providing care for someone with dementia can feel as complicated as trying to wrap your mind around quantum physics. It involves attempting to make sense of what appears nonsensical, and reacting in ways that seem illogical to everything you have understood up to now. Yet when dementia caregivers have some basic tools in their Alzheimer’s care toolbox, they can feel well informed and effective in their role, and help their loved ones feel content, accepted, and understood.
How Can I Provide Better Alzheimer’s Care?
- Accept imperfection. First and most importantly, extend yourself the grace of being human. There will be plenty of times you wish you had handled a situation in a different way, and that is ok. Forgive yourself fully, and use the situation as a chance to learn and grow as a dementia caregiver.
- Don’t be bound by reason. With dementia, traditional logic and reasoning are frequently entirely unproductive. Rather than engaging in a debate over something you don’t agree on, for example the need to eat lunch, pivot to using short, simple, and straightforward statements, like: “Let’s take a few bites and then have dessert.”
- Sometimes, a little white lie is best. With dementia, honesty is not really always the best policy. It may trigger agitation, confusion, and a meltdown. If the person believes they are a staff member of the doctor’s office, play along with this alternate reality, perhaps by giving the person a briefcase and some “paperwork” to take to the next appointment.
- Allow additional time and space for self-sufficiency. You might find it easier to take over all of the daily tasks the senior can no longer do easily or quickly. Yet, in seeking to decrease the person’s frustration, you may be hampering their sense of self-worth. If dressing solo takes twice as long, plan for that extra time so no one feels rushed.
- Make questions simpler. It might seem perfectly reasonable to ask the individual what they would like for lunch, or what they want to do that day. However, if the person is unable to articulate a response, it can lead to aggravation that can rapidly intensify. A yes or no question may be more effective: “Would you like grilled cheese for lunch?” Or, simply tell the person: “Let’s visit the park after lunch!”
- Remind yourself that it is ok to ask for help. Caring for someone who has dementia is definitely not a one-person task. Dementia care, especially as the disease progresses, is a 24/7 endeavor, and attempting to do it all yourself is a surefire way to experience burnout. When someone offers a helping hand, accept it, and provide specific jobs you need assistance with. If no one offers, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can In-Home Care Help Someone With Dementia?
Yes! One of the best ways to provide the best care for someone you love with dementia is by partnering with a dementia care expert. At Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a dedicated provider of in-home care in Leawood, KS and the nearby areas, our staff are fully trained and experienced in creative, effective approaches to dementia care, and we are here for you with as much or as little support as you need. Contact us at 913-440-4209 and let us know how we can help.