Caring for a Loved One with Dementia: 5 Tips for Success

Whether it’s your partner, parent, or friend who has been diagnosed with dementia, coming to terms with this difficult knowledge is vital if you’re going to be their caregiver. Your loved one will require constant support, love, and attention as you move into the future. While it is distressing to see someone you love deteriorate before your eyes, there are ways you can keep communication lines open and slow down the debilitating symptoms that dementia is notoriously known for.

To help, here are five tips on how to ensure your loved one is receiving the best care possible.

Speak Simply

While it may seem like an obvious tip, many care providers make the mistake of asking open-ended questions to loved ones, which can be overwhelming for those living with dementia. As the syndrome progresses, your loved one will have difficulty connecting information and finding the right response to your question. Therefore, speaking simply and clearly and using questions that can be answered with a plain ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is key. 

Be Patient

Seeing your loved one’s mental and physical wellbeing deteriorate due to dementia can be incredibly overwhelming. As your loved one’s cognitive function begins to decline, they may start repeating themselves and asking the same questions over and over again. Instead of getting frustrated and losing your temper, you need to be patient and understanding of their situation. Your loved one will be under an immense amount of mental and emotional pressure. So, make sure you listen to what they say and don’t become agitated.

Be Organized

If your loved one has dementia, they may start to become more restless and aggressive as they move through the stages. Therefore, you must develop a routine for your loved one which not only allows you to provide better care, but can reduce the stress levels and anxiety that your family member is facing. Developing routines will be beneficial for the both of you and can keep things under control.

Create a Peaceful Environment

The environment your loved one lives in can create sensory overload if there are tons of clutter around. An individual with dementia will become distressed in a disorganized room. So, it’s your job to get rid of clutter and create a peaceful environment that your loved one feels comfortable and relaxed in.

Encourage Exercise

Research has proven that regular exercise for those living with dementia can slow down brain aging. This means that you should encourage physical activity for your loved one which can stimulate blood circulation, improve cardiovascular health, and improve sleep. If your loved one lives at home, there are lots of activities they can do from the comfort of their living room.

You can also list some outdoor activities that you can do with your loved one, but make sure to get advice from your trusted doctor. Some health conditions such as arthritis or high blood pressure may limit the types of exercise, not to mention incontinence. People with dementia may no longer recognize the urge to urinate or to have a bowel movement. Encourage them to use adult incontinence products to help them move around and use adult incontinence products. Exercise may be helpful to people with dementia, but activities must be safe.

According to data, there are more than 15 million U.S citizens who care for someone who has dementia. If you fall into this category, there are numerous challenges that you will face along the way. However, making use of the tips above can help make sure the care you give is second to none.