Being diagnosed with a neurological disorder can be a very difficult experience to cope with. One prime example of a neurological condition is dementia, which can cause the brain to deteriorate over time. As a result, the brain slowly loses its functions such as memory, processing, etc. Furthermore, this can eventually lead to the loss of basic motor skills and the ability to do daily activities.
It may also be challenging to care for individuals in the senior living community who have dementia as it’s difficult to watch them suffer from the condition. Besides this, caring for someone with dementia will also require plenty of work. Firstly, you’ll need to learn how to give proper care to improve their quality of life in spite of having dementia. Second, as individuals with dementia slowly lose their reasoning skills, they may also develop behavioral issues requiring your patience.
Having said that, properly caring for someone with dementia goes beyond helping them combat the condition. You’ll also want to ensure that they can be happy while being safe. To learn more about how you can achieve this, consider the following tips:
Table of Contents
1. Keep Them Stimulated
Caring for someone with dementia may require you to confine them in one place for their safety. However, this isn’t advisable as they may develop mental health and behavioral problems. As such, to keep them stimulated, consider the following activities:
You may not be surprised to find this on the top of the list as it doesn’t only engage the person with dementia, but it also improves their health. It helps regulate their sleep and reduce restlessness. Note that the exercise doesn’t have to be intensive and might just consist of walking around the neighborhood.
From baking to cooking to creating some arts and crafts, it’s important to let them pursue as many of their interests as possible on their own. By doing so, you encourage them to participate in any activity they enjoy while also practicing their cognitive skills.
- Spend time with pets
Another way to keep them stimulated would be to give them a pet to spend time with. Having pets has been known to help boost mood and reduce chances of developing a mental illness.
- Music Therapy
Music therapy is another method worth considering when you wish to keep a loved one with dementia happy and safe. By listening to some music, they can feel more soothed, comforted, and stimulated. It may also elicit a powerful emotional response, which may help them reconnect with their memories.
2. Seek And Attain Some Assistance
The next step would be to seek and attain some assistance through technology and services. You may specifically look for those that can help you become a better caregiver and improve your loved one’s safety.
When it comes to services, you may consider those that can address all kinds of challenges, ranging from medical to interpersonal. You may also hire caregivers to look after and care for your loved one whenever you’re not available. Other services that may be beneficial include dementia care coordinators and medical alert programs.
Meanwhile, you may utilize digital equipment, such as monitors and GPS, to continuously keep an eye on them even if you’re not around. In choosing which technologies and tools to use, simply assess the living environment of your loved one and see which would benefit them. For instance, if you observe that a specific area could use better fire and safety protection or are accident prone, you may take the necessary steps and tools to address them.
3. Encourage Independence
While they may need more assistance due to dementia, it’s important to understand exactly how much help they’ll need. This is especially true if they are in the early stages of dementia. Consider encouraging independence in them by only offering the appropriate amount of help that is needed. This is applicable regardless of whether they’re doing daily activities or their hobbies.
Some ways you may encourage independence include establishing a routine, encouraging exercise, and letting them help in household chores. You can also allow them to perform minor tasks, such as dressing. The goal is to get them dressed in simple outfits that won’t be difficult to take off. Additionally, you can use labels that you can put on medicine bottles if they have trouble remembering things.
4. Individualize Your Approach
It can be said that your loved one’s experience with dementia will be different from others. In that case, you may need to adopt other practices and a particular way of communicating to better care for them.
The key to providing quality care for your loved one with dementia is to tailor your caregiving methods to their specific requirements. In doing so, you must practice patience and flexibility until you’ve found a way that suits you both.
For instance, you may take into consideration their preferred activities and support them in doing those as it keeps them happy and preoccupied. You may also want to consider the stage of dementia they’re experiencing when assessing their needs.
When taking care of a loved one with dementia, their health should always come first. You’ll also want to ensure that they’re happy and healthy as this too can improve their mood and general wellbeing. Hopefully, with the tips above, you’re better informed on what you should do. Consider applying what you’ve learned and give better care for your loved one with dementia.