Dealing with dementia care can feel as challenging as trying to understand quantum physics. It involves trying to make sense of what appears nonsensical, and responding in ways that seem counterintuitive to everything you’ve learned until now. Yet with just a few simple tricks in your Alzheimer’s care toolbox, you can feel more self-assured and effective in your role, and can help the senior you love feel understood, content, and accepted.
How Can I Be a Better Dementia Caregiver?
- Accept your flaws. First and foremost, give yourself the grace to be human. There will be times you wish you had handled an issue in another way, and that’s ok. Try not to blame yourself, and learn from the experience.
- Don’t be bound by reason. With Alzheimer’s disease, conventional reasoning and logic are often completely unproductive. Instead of arguing over something you don’t agree on, like the need to leave for a doctor’s appointment, switch to using simple, straightforward, and short statements, such as: “We’re going to take a nice drive now.”
- Occasionally, a little white lie is best. With dementia, honesty is not always the best policy. It can lead to agitation, confusion, and a meltdown. If the individual believes they are a staff member of the doctor’s office, play along with this alternate reality, maybe by providing a briefcase and some “paperwork” to take to the next visit.
- Allow extra time and space for self-sufficiency. You may find it easier to take charge of all the day-to-day responsibilities the older adult can no longer do easily or quickly. Yet, in attempting to minimize the person’s frustration, you may be hampering their sense of self-worth. If getting dressed solo takes twice as long, plan for that extra time so neither of you feels rushed.
- Simplify questions. It might seem completely reasonable to ask the senior what they would like for dinner, or what they want to do that day. However, if the person struggles to articulate an answer, it could lead to frustration that may rapidly escalate. A yes or no question may be more effective: “Would you like a salad for dinner?” Or, simply say to the individual: “Let’s go to the park after lunch!”
- Remind yourself that it’s ok to ask for help. Caring for a person with dementia is never a solo task. Dementia care, especially as the disease progresses, is a 24/7 endeavor, and trying to do it all yourself is a guaranteed way to experience burnout. When someone offers a helping hand, take it, and give them specific responsibilities you need help with. If no one offers, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can Home Care Help Someone With Dementia?
Absolutely! One of the best ways to provide the best care for someone you love with dementia is by partnering with a dementia care expert. At Grace Home Care, an award-winning provider of Topeka senior care, our caregivers are fully experienced and trained in creative, effective approaches to dementia care, and we are here for you with as much or as little support as you need. Call us at 785-286-2273 and let us know how we can help.