June 5, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

Lady pointing at reminder to help senior with dementia

When providing help for seniors with dementia, it is important to keep in mind that you ARE capable, you ARE making a positive impact, and you ARE doing an excellent job! And while you are self-affirming, there are several additional “Rs” that can help both you and the person in your care; six of them, to be exact. 

What Are the Six Rs in Dementia Care?

The following are the six Rs of dementia care that, when implemented, will help caregivers during the more challenging times of dementia care:  

  1. Reassure: Everyday occurrences can become frightful and alarming to seniors with dementia. This can include loud noises, waning daylight hours, unknown visitors, or even hallucinations. Offer words of reassurance such as, “It’s ok. You’re safe. I’m right here with you.” 
  1. Reconsider: It’s important to consider how each particular trigger is impacting the senior with dementia. Remind yourself that these behaviors or reactions are not deliberate. They are the result of the disease of dementia. A little bit of empathy can go a long way towards easing your stress, and theirs. 
  1. Reassess: Pinpoint the root cause for the person’s agitation or fear. Be sure to investigate any possible physical causes, like hunger, thirst, pain or discomfort. If you are uncertain, check in with the person’s health care provider for direction. 
  1. Redirect: Refocus their attention on a less stressful activity, or remove them from the environment altogether. For instance, if the noise of the dishwasher is upsetting the individual, simply moving into the living room to play a card game could be all that’s needed to restore a sense of calm. 
  1. Relax: Any agitation you’re conveying, either through words or body posture, will likely exacerbate the situation. Take a good deep breath, relax your body, and use a quiet, calm voice. Be sure to designate plenty of time away from your care duties for self-care too. 
  1. Review: Once the person is settled, assess how you navigated the situation and take note of what worked (or didn’t work). Keep track of the most effective coping mechanisms for any given situation.  

Dementia caregiving is a selfless journey that can be very fulfilling, but also extremely challenging and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you are taking excellent care of yourself. Allow plenty of time for activities and socialization with others to ensure you stay rested and refreshed. 

Professional Caregivers Can Help Seniors With Dementia

If you are finding it difficult to step away from your caregiving role on a consistent basis, give At Home Independent Living a call. We can speak with you in the comfort of your home to talk through the challenges you are facing and to offer more Alzheimer’s care tips in addition to in-home dementia care support in LaFayette, Fayetteville, Syracuse, and the nearby areas. We are here to help any time you need us. Connect with us at 315-579-HOME (4663) or contact us online to learn more about our home care services.