March 6, 2019 by
Sometimes, the best lessons in life come through experiencing them firsthand; yet the wisdom we can glean from those who’ve walked a similar path before us is invaluable. If you’re providing care for a loved one with dementia and feeling a bit overwhelmed in this uncharted territory, the tips below can help:
- A short break can make all the difference. When your senior loved one is struggling with difficult feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s best to pause whatever activity or task she is involved in, and allow both of you the opportunity for a breather. Change the environment by moving into a different room or outside if the weather permits, play some favorite music, look through a photo album, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you can attempt the task again, often with much better results.
- Let go of rationalizing. Trying to prove a point or win an argument is rarely effective when communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will be done, allow the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
- Overcome denial. While it may be human nature to want to deny that there’s a problem, recognizing the signs of dementia and seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important to receive the care and treatment needed.
- Check medications. The side effects of certain medications can actually cause more confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Put together a comprehensive list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review with the senior’s doctor to confirm that the benefits outweigh any negative effects.
- Take care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are serious risks for family members caring for a senior with dementia. Make sure you’re carving out plenty of time for self-care, socialization, and activities that you enjoy. Remember that your loved one will benefit from having a caregiver who is healthy and refreshed.
- Realize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. While the person you love is going through some difficult changes, it’s important to understand that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring joy in spite of the disease. Explore different types of activities for the senior to enhance socialization, boost memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.
At Home Independent Living is always available to provide the support you need to ensure your loved one with dementia is able to live life to the fullest. Contact us online or call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to learn more about our highly specialized in-home dementia care in Syracuse and surrounding areas for seniors.