In some cases, the best lessons in life come through experiencing them firsthand; yet the lessons learned by those who’ve walked an identical course before us is priceless. If you’re providing care for a family member with dementia and feeling a bit weighed down in this uncharted territory, the strategies below will help:
- A brief break will make all the difference. When your senior loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s advisable to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is taking part in, and allow time for a breather. Change the situation by moving into a different area or outside if the weather allows, play some favorite music, look through a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you should attempt the task again, frequently with far better results.
- Let go of rationalizing. Aiming to establish a point or win a disagreement is rarely successful 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, permit the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
- Address denial. While it may be human nature to want to deny that there’s a challenge, acknowledging signs and symptoms of dementia and seeking medical assistance at the earliest opportunity is recommended to obtain the medical care and treatment necessary.
- Check medications. The side effects of some prescription drugs have the ability to cause greater confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Put together an in-depth listing of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review together with the senior’s health care provider to confirm that the benefits surpass any unwanted side effects.
- Take proper care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant concerns for loved ones taking care of a senior with dementia. Ensure that you are carving out sufficient time for self-care, socializing, and hobbies which you enjoy. Bear in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and recharged.
- Recognize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Even though the person you love is going through some difficult changes, it is beneficial to know that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness regardless of the disease. Consider various kinds of experiences for the senior to enhance socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.
Generations at Home is always here to provide the encouragement you will need to ensure your loved one with dementia will be able to live life to the fullest. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 for more information on our highly specialized in-home dementia care for seniors.