Providing care for a loved one with dementia delivers a world of rewards – the experience of peace of mind and fulfillment in knowing you’re aiding in making the senior’s life as secure and comfortable as possible, the joy of seeing the senior’s smile at an enjoyed activity, the warmth of reminiscing. And yet, it is also one of the most challenging responsibilities any of us can perform.
The Topeka home care team at Grace Home Care partners with families in supplying education and hands-on, specialized help and support with dementia care, and suggests the tips below to manage some of the more perplexing aspects of caring for a senior with dementia:
Wandering can happen for a variety of reasons: boredom, irritation, discomfort, depression, confusion, the need to use the bathroom, and more. Attempting to discover the underlying reason for your senior loved one’s wandering is important. For instance, a bored senior with dementia could possibly be redirected to a favorite activity or reminiscing over photographs. If pain is suspected, be sure to call the senior’s doctor for help. Make sure doors are locked to ensure the individual does not wander away from home, and always make sure he/she is wearing some means of identification at all times just in case a wandering incident should occur.
Sleeping changes and disruptions are typical in dementia, and can result in exhaustion for family caregivers. It’s helpful to try to lessen daytime sleeping and create a soothing, sleep-inducing setting during the night: keep lights low, play comforting music, and avoid serving the senior any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. If, in spite of these efforts, the senior continues to remain awake and distressed through the night, recruiting the help of a professional caregiver, such as those provided by Grace Home Care, can ensure safety overnight and an opportunity for family members to get much-needed rest.
Tension can quickly escalate to agitation and even aggression for seniors with dementia. Seniors may also be aware of your own stress, which can lead to further distress for them. It’s essential to remain calm, even in the face of agitation, and to know which activities are most calming for your loved one and have them on hand to diffuse difficult circumstances. This could be a tactical activity, the person’s favorite music, a walk outdoors, listening to a story read out loud – it may take a bit of trial and error to discover what works best.
Grace Home Care’s Topeka senior care experts are skilled and experienced in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and would love to partner with you in providing the highest possible quality of care for your senior loved one. We can also provide the much needed respite care Topeka family caregivers need when caring for senior loved ones. Call us at 785.286.CARE to request a free in-home meeting or to get answers to any of your dementia care questions.