How do you take care of a senior suffering from dementia? If your parent or other loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, and their memory seems to be fading more and more every day, you may be worried about what the future holds. But with proper care, it’s possible to have many happy years left with them. Here are five tips to help you take care of seniors with dementia.
1. Create A Calm Environment
If your loved one has dementia, they’re going to need a lot more patience and assistance. Try creating a calm environment in their home to navigate things easier. Put away anything that could cause them stress or confusion. You may even want to consider using a lock on doors that can give them trouble, like your liquor cabinet or junk drawer.
Make it as easy as possible to get around without tripping or slipping. Remember that falling can happen among seniors with dementia due to poor balance, vision issues, or muscle deterioration. If you see your loved one struggling to stand up without support or always holding onto the furniture when walking around their house, you should talk with their doctor about investing in some home safety equipment. However, if you feel burnt out as a caregiver, you can contact a trustworthy senior care home for quality care and services for your loved one.
2. Be Patient With Them
It’s essential to be patient with seniors with dementia because they will often have trouble remembering what you told them or asked them to do. It can be frustrating but try not to get upset. Instead, repeat yourself gently and calmly until they remember what you want them to do.
You may also need help explaining things to your loved ones. A good caregiver will guide them through specific tasks while still taking care of their own needs at home. If necessary, ask if other family members can lend a hand—help can make everything easier!
3. Don’t Take Out Your Anger On Them
Although it’s normal for you to feel frustrated with seniors suffering from dementia, it is essential not to take out your anger on them. Anger, frustration, and anxiety cause stress in all of us, and research has shown that elders with dementia can sense these emotions.
Even if they can’t understand why you are angry, they will pick up on your emotional state, which will only make things worse. Remember to take deep breaths when interacting with an elder with dementia and be kind at all times. Even if they act as though they don’t hear you or remember who you are, they still appreciate kindness.
4. Make it Easier For Them To Eat
Because dementia patients can have difficulty swallowing, ensuring they can feed themselves is essential. For example, eating-aid tools like utensils with a longer handle and extra-wide straws can make it easier for them to eat independently. Also, be sure they’re sitting at a table and not hunched over on a couch, where they might accidentally choke. Seniors with dementia must feed themselves as much as possible.
However, you can consider just providing snacks instead if you’re feeding them all meals. But do try to ensure they’re getting nutrition each day—nutrition counseling or therapy may be necessary to help with overall health and keep your loved one safe from malnutrition and dehydration. Managing their overall health may include proper diet, hydration, movement/exercise (to stimulate their brain), and stress management sessions(to reduce triggers).
5. Respect Their Space But Don’t Let Them Wand Around Unsupervised
When dealing with dementia, respect your loved one’s physical and mental space. Seniors with dementia may not remember how close they are to you or how often you visit them. However, for their comfort, it’s crucial to give them a bubble of personal space that you don’t violate unless when necessary. However, remember their tendency to wander. Keep an eye on them at all times while they are awake, especially when walking around the house.
Ensure your loved one has supervision in public spaces like restaurants and grocery stores to keep them safe from dangers like tripping over steps or wandering into traffic. Also, they might feel unsafe if you leave them alone, leading to accidents when walking downstairs. Sit down with your loved ones before leaving so they know where you are going, why you are going there, and how long it will take. If possible, leave a cell phone number for someone who should call if something goes wrong along the way.
Taking care of a senior suffering from dementia can be a daunting task. There are many ways you can help your loved one, though. With proper care and some diligence, they can live an enriching life that involves family, friends, and hobbies. It’s important to note that in taking care of your loved one, you should also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as well. Taking care of yourself will empower you to give them all the love and support they need throughout their illness. You can contact Symphony Senior Living for quality and trustworthy care for seniors with dementia.