Tips on Caring for Someone with Dementia

Tips on Caring for Someone with Dementia
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a stressful and challenging time. But with the proper care and support, it can be a rewarding experience.
Unfortunately, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can affect a person in so many ways. Dementia can lead to loss of memory and reasoning. A person who has dementia can experience behavioral changes and undergo physical decline. However, the way dementia affects an individual varies from person to person.
This article looks at some ways to support and assist a loved one who had dementia. You’ll also find helpful tips on what to avoid for providing the needed care.

What is Dementia?

Dementia refers to a progressive loss of brain function due to certain diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dementia is a group of conditions that affect a person’s thinking, memory, communication, and reasoning abilities.
Signs of dementia include getting lost, forgetting the names of close people, mood changes, or general confusion.

The Best Ways to Care for Someone with Dementia

Here are some handy tips on how to provide the best care for a person living with dementia.

1. Help with everyday tasks

As a person’s symptoms worsen, they may start feeling stressed, anxious, or even frightened. As a result, it may be difficult to remember things or follow conversations. Therefore, it can be helpful to have memory aids in the house. You also may need to slow down in conversation and use more straightforward language.

2. Help maintain a healthy diet

Enjoying a healthy diet and getting enough fluids is crucial for anyone with dementia. A poor diet or not getting enough to drink can increase the risk of infection and illness. To help make mealtimes less stressful, try serving food in smaller portions or provide finger food.
It’s also vital to ensure they have regular dental checkups. This helps ensure that poor-fitting dentures are not the reason for refusing to eat or getting frustrated at mealtimes.

3. Dealing with a loss of communication

It is distressing to see that a dementia patient has difficulty expressing themselves. So, it may be necessary to have patience when communicating. In some cases, using gestures can help them to express themselves.
Also, try asking direct questions rather than general ones. For example, for mealtimes, ask “Would you like lasagna today?” rather than “What would you like to eat?”

4. Try to stick to a familiar routine

If possible, create routines to cope with day-to-day life. For example, it’s a good idea to stick to regular mealtimes and bedtime routines. This helps provide stability. But you may also have to be flexible if some routines are clearly causing distress.

What to Avoid When Caring for Someone with Dementia

If you are looking after a loved one with dementia, there are also some things you shouldn’t do. So here a few things to avoid in dementia care to respect their dignity:

  • Don’t speak to them like a child.
  • Avoid arguing with them if they are confused or forget things.
  • Try not to bring up the past. Dementia suffers live in the moment, and they may forget what happened yesterday or even a few hours ago.
  • Stay connected emotionally.
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