Caring for a loved one who has dementia can be demanding and stressful. It requires appropriate care techniques and behavior management to make them function. The mental changes that a dementia patient goes through can be a distressing experience for someone taking regular care of the person.
Here, Your Dementia Therapist can guide you on managing the day-to-day issues that occur while taking care of the patient. Understanding the process can help you give your loved one the proper care and support.
Here are five helpful caregiving tips that can help you manage tasks for the one who has dementia.
Do not frustrate
You might get irritated when simple tasks become difficult for the dementia patient. So, establish a daily routine making it easier for the individual to understand. Activities like bathing are easy if the patient is refreshed and alert.
Allow some flexibility for spontaneous activities. Schedule more time for the tasks that may take a long time and allow breaks during tasks.
Involve the person with dementia by allowing them to do as much as possible with little help. For example, dressing independently if you lay out the clothes.
Provide orderly and straightforward instructions to make the person understand one-step communication. Minimize distractions by turning off the TV or others during mealtime and conversations to focus on the person with dementia.
A dementia patient often loses the ability to connect information into responses and ideas. So, try to ask them questions to respond simply with a yes or no.
Create a safe environment
Dementia impairs problem-solving and judgment skills, increasing the risk of injury to the person. As a caretaker, you have to ensure the patient’s safety. Avoid extension cords, scatter rugs and clutter that can result in falls. Try to install bars, handrails, or locks on dangerous cabinets like medicines and alcohol.
Lower the thermostat on the hot-water heater for checking water temperature that prevents burns to the patient. Keep lighters and matches out of reach. Supervise smoking if the person with dementia smokes. Ensure having an accessible fire extinguisher and fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide batteries.
Use appropriate colors and lighting
Prepare an environment of proper lighting. Provide easy access to daylight at the place of living during the day. Use table lamps with warm light during the evening some hours before bedtime. Patients with dementia need darkness during the night, so using only a yellow amber night light will be helpful.
People with dementia suffer from vision changes, benefiting from strong color contrast. For example, such people prefer a table setting with different colored tablecloths and plates. Dark lines or patches on the flooring or busy patterns may confuse the patient and result in falls. Try to observe the kind of colors and patterns your patient prefers. Tailor the environment according to their preferences.
Someone who has dementia suffers from memory and communication challenges that cause agitation. So, you need to relieve their emotional and mental pressure. Give them time to respond and make them understand things.
You have to act positively and happily in front of the patient. Telling jokes to your loved one will function similarly to medication for relieving stress. Laughter can help you get out of the pressure of being a caretaker and the patient’s stress. Find meaningful ways to connect with the patient through body language and facial expression to make them lively and happy.
Try physical exercise
Regular exercise stimulates blood circulation in the brain. Encourage your patient to participate in daily physical activity for at least 20 minutes. Take their help in small tasks like gardening or setting the table if they are willing to do. It will increase their focus and bring clarity to the mind.
Being active slows down brain aging, while a sedentary lifestyle increases the chances that dementia sets in early. You can make them do meditation or yoga that offers peace of mind and improves concentration. You can also make patients listen to their favorite music for some time in a day to relax their brains.
Caring for a dementia patient is overwhelming. Keeping the patient engaged and calm helps improve the quality of life. The above five helpful caregiving tips for those living with dementia will help you take their care better.