In the United States, it’s estimated that 43.5 million families care for senior loved ones at home. Many of these families care for older adults with dementia. Caregivers who take care of loved ones with dementia have different challenges than other families. Use these tips to better care for your loved one as a family.
Caring for someone else means it’s time to prioritize. Look at your life and decide what the most important things are to you. Let go of other things that aren’t. Right now, the focus needs to be on your own family, so it’s okay to say “no” to things you can’t do right now and allow others to help.
2. Divide Up Responsibilities
If other family members are willing to help with your loved one’s care, sit down and have a family meeting. Medical appointments, picking up prescriptions, financial obligations, and other parts of your loved one’s care can be divided up among those who aren’t caring for your loved one in their own homes. It’s a good idea to sit down with your own immediate family as well. If your loved one is going to be living with you, talk with your spouse and children about the situation. Be honest about the health of your loved one, what they can expect, and what you need help with.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Portland seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
3. Limit Distractions
While caring for your loved one, try to limit distractions as much as possible. The world can be overwhelming for those with dementia, and the sounds and sights of the television, video games, and radio can be frustrating as they’re trying to process stimuli. Go through your home and try to limit as many of these distractions as possible or remove them from your loved one’s immediate vicinity.
4. Try Validation Therapy
Validation therapy can be a helpful tool when caregiving. It encourages empathy and respect for seniors with dementia by validating them rather than contradicting them or trying to change them. For example, if your loved one thinks he or she is in an earlier time period, instead of correcting him or her about the wrong date, talk as if you’re in that time period. This strategy can help your loved one work through his or her emotions and feelings.
A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors with dementia. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same home care services. Families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
5. Be Simple and Direct
Your loved one may have a difficult time communicating his or her thoughts with you and understanding the things you’re saying. He or she may forget things easily during a long conversation or be unable to talk. The best way to communicate with your loved one is by being direct with the things you’re saying and to say them simply.
6. Distract and Redirect
Seniors with dementia can become agitated and distressed during certain times of the day or when they don’t understand what’s going on. Instead of getting frustrated, try to distract your loved one with a different setting or conversation and redirect his or her attention.
7. Use Respite Care
Taking care of a loved one with dementia is a selfless act of love that can also be exhausting. Remember to care for yourself so you can care for your loved one. Respite care allows a trained professional to care for your loved one while you take care of yourself or spend time with other family members.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Portland senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (207) 835-4849.