Dementia Care Dos and Don'ts
Dementia can come in many shapes and sizes. It is best defined as "a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning".When someone you love has dementia, it is hard to figure out how to communicate with them but also how to show your support without making them angry. Remember to keep your cool and be patient. If you are wanting extra support, look around for homecare, investigage support groups or even writing/talking about it to someone else about how you are feeling is a major help. There are some things that you can do to better support your loved one and some things to not do to avoid a hairy situation.
1). If the person you are with has aggressive actions and/or behaviour:
DO: Try to identify the cause. Why is your loved one acting aggressively? Is there discomfort that they are experiencing or someone around them that they are unsure about? If they are not putting themselves in danger, use a calm voice and ask them something else to help distract them from what is upsetting them.
DON'T: Engage in the argument that is making them aggressive or force the issue that is making them upset. If they don't want to eat or do what is asked of them at that moment, take a break and talk about or do something else for awhile. Ask again after a bit if it is something that needs to get done. A good thing to remember is to remove the word "no" from your vocabulary when with your loved one.
2). One thing that a lot of people with dementia ask for is to go home. The memory loss that they are experiencing, they will forget that they were moved into a care home and ask frequently when they are going home.
DO: Redirect your loved one to a different conversation. Respond with responses like, we can't leave right now because (traffic is bad, it's storming outside, etc.). In cases like this, it is good to find how to respond to make them feel the safest.
DON'T: Give long or lengthy conversations. There is no reasoning with someone with dementia. Keep answers short and try to keep the reasoning out of your answers.
3). If your loved one with dementia is in charge of their finances, you might experience them stating that they can't figure out the bills or see them hoarding items.
DO: See how big the situation is. If you think asking your loved one for you to see a bill or a statement could cause an escalation in behaviour, take a peek at a bill to see if anything is outstanding or in some cases, if you explain the situation to the bill companies, they might give you an outstanding balance or an idea of what is not paid. If your loved one will let you see the bills, try to keep them included and talk to them about the bills.
DON'T: Accuse them of not paying their bills on time or question their ability to handle the situation. That is setting them up to get upset and for the situation to go downhill really fast.
Try to keep these tips in mind when dealing with a loved one with dementia. Try to stay calm and try to maintain a good support system for yourself and your loved one. Note any changes and make sure they are mentioned to their doctor to make sure the dementia isn't worsening.
There is always homecare services available and homes if you are wanting to go that route. Check out your local Alzheimer's organization or contact Dove Homecare at 306-525-0045 to find out more information about homecare.