4 Tips for Dementia Caregivers
According to statistics, 9.9 million new cases of dementia are reported annually across the globe. This is a degenerative condition of the brain which causes memory loss and behavioral changes. While dementia is a progressive disease, there’re ways to manage the symptoms and make life easier for individuals with this condition.
Taking care of an elderly loved one with dementia? Here’s what you need to know.
Speak in Short & Specific Sentences
Avoid asking patients with dementia vague or open-ended questions. Instead, phrase your words as simply and clearly as you can to make it easier for them to understand.
For instance, instead of asking what they’d like to have for breakfast, you can make it simpler by asking whether they want cornflakes today. This will help them formulate a “yes” or “no” response, making it easier for them to reply and relieving them from the anxiety-inducing and confusing task of making a decision.
Use the Power of Touch
You know how they say actions speak louder than words? That strongly applies in dementia caregiving as well. Senior loved ones facing loss of cognition skills and memory may not be able to articulate their thoughts and process your words, but there’s another way you can communicate with them.
Simple gestures such as stroking their forehead, brushing their hair, or holding their hand act as reassuring tokens of love. It makes them feel safer and also helps them focus on a particular thought or memory. In fact, studies have pointed out the effects of fist clenching in stimulating the brain to remember better and stabilizing body motion. Holding their hand and helping them make a fist can evoke a better response from them.
Remember Their Behaviour Is Uncontrollable
A lot of caregivers overlook the fact that the irritated and often hurtful behavior being exhibited by patients with dementia is not something they can control. Dementia affects the brain, which in turn affects their ability to speak, think, and behave. As a result, it can be difficult to interact with them as they may say hurtful things and be irritable themselves.
It’s important to remember that it is indeed the disease talking. Don’t take their remarks personally! They can’t control their behavior.
Ask For Help
Caregiving can be emotionally draining and extremely exhausting if only one person is responsible for all the work. Coping with everything on your own can be an overwhelming task and can even affect your ability to take care of your loved one properly if you’re overworked and unrested.
Don’t be hesitant about asking for help! Even if you’re the only family member who can assist, you don’t have to do everything alone. For both your own and your loved one’s health’s sake, reach out to organizations that specialize in dementia care and take assistance from professional caregivers.
Call us at (818) 881-0055 to get in touch with our team!