A Guide to Dealing with Dementia
When you are a care partner, it is very important to know how to manage any issues that might come. When you understand the dementia process, you will be in a better position to ensure they get the care they deserve to have the best quality of life. Below are some tips that are going to help both you and them.
1. Speaking simply
This can seem like an obvious thing, but many people will ask open-ended questions like “what do you want for lunch?” This can seem like a simple question to you, but it can be overwhelming for a person living with dementia. When a person has dementia, they can lose their ability to connect things into responses and clear ideas. The best approach is to ask them whether they would like a specific thing. Instead of asking them what they want for lunch, ask them whether they would like some pasta. Try phrasing your questions in a way that can be answered with a no or yes.
2. Having patience is important
A person suffering from dementia has memory challenges and communication struggles, and this can cause someone to get agitated. It is important for you to be the one providing them with relief from the mental and emotional pressure they are under. You might have a lot of things to work on, but rushing them is not going to help anyone. It can cause both of you to be agitated. You need to give them time to respond. You should be ready to repeat something more than once. If you do find yourself struggling to cope then perhaps employ a home care agency a few days a week.
3. Making an environment that provides the right balance of stimulation
Lighting: there should be easy access to daylight. Use table lamps with warm light in the evening, a couple of hours before bedtime. It is important to keep in mind that your loved one needs darkness during the night. If there is a need for light, then use a yellow amber nightlight.
Using colors: Studies have shown the benefits of color contrast as a result of changes in vision for people with dementia. When setting the table, make sure the plates and tablecloths have different colors. Dark lines and busy patterns or patches are not good because they can confuse your loved one and can even cause falls. Make sure you tailor the environment to their preference.
4. Laughter helps
Laughter is beneficial for many people. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from memory loss. There was a study done in Australia that showed jokes had the same effect medication has when it comes to relieving stress. You are also going to benefit because it will help you let go of some pressure. If your loved one is at a point where they can only communicate using body language and facial expression, look for ways of connecting with them because they can still perceive and feel.
5. Trying physical exercise
Research has shown that being active can help in slowing down the aging of the brain. They have also shown sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of dementia. Regular exercise improves blood circulation to the brain. You should encourage your loved one to take part in a cardiovascular workout for at least 20 minutes because it is going to result in clarity and a greater focus on their surroundings. Start small. They can help with tasks like gardening and setting the table if they are willing.
Taking care of a loved one suffering from dementia can be stressful and demanding. It is a serious responsibility that can ever make light of. You can improve the quality of your loved ones by keeping them calm and engaged. You will also have an easier time taking care of them. Caretakers need to keep in mind that while they are responsible for the care of their loved ones, it can be a deeply enriching and bonding moment for both of you if handled with sensitivity.