At times, the best lessons in life arise through experiencing them firsthand; yet the wisdom we are able to glean from those who have walked an identical course before us is priceless. If you’re providing dementia care at home for a loved one with dementia and becoming a bit weighed down in this uncharted territory, the suggestions below can help:
- A brief break can make all the difference. If your senior loved one is struggling with challenging feelings, such as fear or anger, it is better to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is engaged in, and allow the opportunity for a breather. Modify the surroundings by going into a different area or outside if weather allows, play some favorite music, look through a photo album, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you should try the task once again, oftentimes with better results.
- Let go of rationalizing. Hoping to prove a point or win a quarrel is rarely successful when communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will be done, allow the senior loved one to maintain her own personal reality.
- Manage denial. Although it can be human nature to want to deny that there’s an issue, identifying warning signs of dementia and seeking medical help as soon as possible is needed to obtain the medical care and treatment necessary.
- Check medications. The side effects of various medications can actually cause more confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Put together a detailed listing of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review together with the senior’s physician to make sure that the advantages surpass any negative effects.
- Take proper care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant concerns for family members caring for a loved one with dementia. Ensure that you are carving out plenty of time for self-care, socializing, and hobbies which you enjoy. Keep in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is healthy and recharged.
- Realize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Even though the person you love is going through some hard changes, it is beneficial to appreciate that life, while different, can certainly still be meaningful and bring happiness in spite of the disease. Try out different sorts of activities for the senior to increase socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.
Amy’s Helping Hands is always available to supply the help you need to ensure your family member with dementia will be able to live life to the fullest. Give us a call at 519.915.4370 and ask about our Memory Therapy program, Adult Day Program, as well as our other services for home care in Windsor and Essex Counties.