Caring for someone with Dementia isn’t always easy. Suddenly, you may be forced to learn how to handle medications, doctors’ appointments, and dietary restrictions. Besides doing these common daily tasks, Dementia patients can have other requirements that go above and beyond basic needs.
Caregiving for a patient with Dementia can be stressful and come with many challenges. These tips are from other Caregivers who have experienced what’s it’s like going through the day-to-day, and share what they wish they knew sooner.
Don’t try to argue with someone who has Dementia
When a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, many times their brain tends to malfunction, causing them to say things that are unclear or false.
Don’t try to ignore the symptoms
If an older adult starts to struggle with memory loss, don’t just brush it off. As much as we don’t want to hear a grim prognosis – the best cause of action is to see a physician. A doctor would be able to tell if your loved one is starting to show early signs of the disease and may be able to offer treatments and reduce symptoms.
Too many medications can make people feel more confused
Sometimes certain medications can make us feel confused or foggy. This is also the case with seniors who take a variety of different medications. Certain Dementia medications can interact with their daily medications, causing new problems, like disorientation or agitation. It’s best to speak with a doctor to review all their medications.
Validation Therapy & Therapeutic Fibs
It’s hard to argue with a person who has a different perception of reality – especially with someone suffering from Dementia. Your loved ones may think they need to go to work, but they are retired. Instead of telling them they’re wrong, try going into their reality and use validation therapy or therapeutic fibs to respond to them.
Improve Your Brain Health
Just because your loved one is suffering from Dementia, doesn’t mean they can’t improve their overall brain health. With healthy habits, you can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce symptoms. Getting exercise, eating a healthy diet and participate in engaging actives can help improve the overall quality of life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being a caregiver alone can be an exhausting job. It’s OK to reach out and talk to others about the challenges. Knowing you’re not the only one going through this can help make a big difference. Alzheimer’s Association can help give you local area resources on support groups.
Do Something for Yourself
When you’re caring for someone all the time, it’s important to try and not burn out. Taking short breaks and doing something for yourself will help recharge and reduce the risk of burnout.
As much as you want to make sure you can do everything possible to help your loved one, sometimes holding yourself to unrealistic expectations can cause frustration and exhaustion. Make sure you are picking your battles and choosing the top priorities for your loved ones and let the less important things go.
Having the Tough Conversations
No one wants to talk about death or dying, but it’s extremely important to take care of important legal documents, such as a will, living will and power of attorney. Making sure you know your loved one’s end of life choices before a health emergency, will help save you from running into hard or legal choices in the middle of a crisis.
Quality of Life
When all seems lost, you can still find ways to enjoy life and have a good quality of life for your loved one. You don’t have to pretend that the challenges and pain don’t exist – try and focus on the positives no matter how small.