5 Tips for Helping a Loved One Living with Dementia

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Caring for a senior with dementia can be a great experience, but the role can also be overwhelming. Developing a good care plan can make days less stressful and boost a senior’s mental and physical health. Learn what you can do to help a senior loved one with dementia.

1. Ask Simple Questions

Dementia damages neurons and prevents seniors from engaging in meaningful conversations, which increases the risk of isolation and depression. Change the way you communicate with your parent. Your loved one may lose his or her train of thought quickly due to dementia, so refrain from asking more than one question at a time. Instead of referring to an object by its name, describe the item. Give your loved one plenty of time to gather his or her thoughts. Your loved one is more likely to withdraw or become agitated when he or she feels rushed.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Fair Oaks seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

2. Distract and Redirect

Combative behavior is common in older adults with dementia, but it’s manageable. When your loved one becomes angry, fearful, or confused, calm him or her down by distracting and redirecting. Change the subject and ask your loved one about his or her favorite activities. You could also lead your loved one into another room and ask for assistance with a meaningful task. By using distraction techniques, you can help your parent relax and redirect his or her focus.

3. Simplify Tasks

Following instructions can be challenging for older adults with dementia, regardless of how familiar they are with activities. You can step in and do most of your loved one’s daily tasks, but inactivity could cause your parent’s condition to worsen. Simplifying duties can make them more achievable and increase independence. For example, when it comes to helping your parent get dressed, pick out comfortable clothing that’s easy to put on, such as cardigans, shirts with Velcro instead of buttons, and pants with snaps instead of zippers.

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Fair Oaks elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide.

4. Stay on Schedule

Although seniors with dementia forget familiar people and objects, they crave a sense of normalcy in their lives. The daily routine you establish in the beginning stages of dementia will provide a sense of stability in the later stages, even if your parent cannot remember what he or she is doing. Make sure to stay on schedule when it comes to eating, bathing, exercising, and completing other daily tasks.

5. Plan for the Future

As dementia progresses, your parent’s care needs will change. Prepare for a time when your loved one’s memory and cognitive skills prevent him or her from making decisions about his or her care. By planning for the future, you can find out your loved one’s wishes about where he or she will stay, who will provide his or her care, and more. Your family will have peace of mind knowing you’ve done everything your loved one asked, even if he or she doesn’t remember making the requests.

Professional caregivers with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors with dementia. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same home care services. Families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 485-4663.