If you live with a loved one with dementia, it is critical to know how to care for them. You must also be flexible and ready to take on more responsibilities as new needs emerge, since dementia advances from mild to more severe stages. This article outlines eight tips for helping a loved one with dementia
1. Ease them into a favorable routine
Consistency is critical when caring for a loved one with dementia, as a sudden interruption of their schedule can cause confusion and frustrations. Set up a routine that best suits their desires, prioritizing exciting activities that will keep them engaged. Most importantly, pay attention to the level of care your loved one will require as the disease progresses. If they require full-time care, it is best to consider assisted living options like Longhouse to ease your burden.
2. Limit noise and interruptions
People with dementia are most comfortable in calm environments, and you need to limit sounds and interruptions around them by:
- Keeping the TV and radio volume low
- Only allowing a few people to visit or interact with them at any given moment
- Soundproofing your house from outside noise
- Engaging them in quiet activities such as jigsaw puzzles, knitting, painting, gardening, or card games
3. Make communication easier
You need to be patient when communicating with a loved one with dementia, and among the factors to consider are:
- Limit distractions when communication
- Do not shout or raise your voice too high
- Make eye contact when talking to them
- Allow as much time for your loved one to reply or talk without interrupting them
- Use familiar objects, photos, and signs during communication
- Stick to simple and clear phrases
- Ask simple yes or no questions
- Respect your loved one’s feelings
4. Actively monitor nutrition
Carefully monitor your loved one’s diet as people with dementia require nutritious foods to avoid bladder and bowel problems, sudden weight loss, lack of sleep, and irritability. Try to include five to six meal and snack times in the daily routines, allowing enough time for independent eating. It is recommendable to make mealtimes special by sharing these moments to encourage your loved one to eat better.
5. Always maintain composure
You need to maintain composure when managing people with dementia, even when feeling overwhelmed by:
- Asking for help when you need it
- Allowing space for your loved one to calm down when they get aggressive
- Being gentle when helping your loved one
- Take breaks whenever you need them
- Paying attention to your personal needs to avoid stress and mental exhaustion
6. Offer them choices
One of the best ways to engage a loved one with dementia and allow them to be in charge of their daily schedules is by offering them simple choices. For example, you could offer them two shirts and let them choose one, allow them to pick a fruit or snack, or decide an activity for you two to engage in.
A loved one with dementia can still lead a happy and fulfilling life if offered the right care and attention.