Taking care of a loved one with dementia is as rewarding as it is challenging. While helping your loved ones improve their quality of life can bring you joy and satisfaction, coordinating their treatment and every aspect of their daily life is overwhelming. Read on for four tips to make caring for a loved one with dementia less stressful.
- Accept the dementia diagnosis
The first step to caring for someone with dementia is accepting the disease’s diagnosis. Coming to terms with the news that your elderly parent has dementia is often challenging for you and the patient. This leads to denial and often deters you from seeking the necessary intervention on time. For this reason, you should dedicate time to processing the news, grieving losses, then transitioning to the present situation to provide the best care.
- Learn more about your loved one’s condition
Most people often have little or no knowledge about dementia or Alzheimer’s before the diagnosis, so you should take time to educate yourself about the illness. While different people have distinct experiences with the condition, learning more about how the disease will progress will help you prepare to handle future challenges, set realistic expectations, and limit frustrations. Consider investing in online training resources, books, or attending workshops to gather sufficient information about dementia while learning suitable caregiving techniques.
- Request for help
Caring for someone with dementia is often manageable, especially in its early stages. However, as the condition progresses, your family member becomes more dependent on your care. They may experience severe memory loss, fail to recognize you and other family members, become incontinent, and develop mobility and balance problems and extreme mood swings. This could make you feel exhausted and frustrated, inhibiting you from providing the best care for your ailing loved one.
For these reasons, you should consider requesting close family members and friends to help with the daily caregiving burden. You could also consider joining dementia caregivers’ support groups to interact with other individuals dealing with the same issue to gain insights on how to cope and manage your loved one’s conditions. Be sure to also seek in-home caregiving services for a loved one whose condition is in its late stages from assisted living communities like the Husky Senior Care to get the best care tailored to their needs.
- Learn how to communicate effectively
As the disease progresses, your loved one may experience changes in how they communicate. They may substitute a word for another, experience difficulties finding the right words, become confused, or repeat the same thing repeatedly. They could also lose their train of thought or become anxious, agitated, or angry, making maintaining conversations difficult. For this reason, you should enhance your communication skills to improve your relationship and deal with complex behaviors exhibited by your loved one. The following are ways of improving communication with someone with dementia:
- Speak clearly and slowly
- Be patient
- Avoid sarcasm or patronizing language as it causes confusion and hurt
- Be conscious of your body language and non-verbal cues
- Do not ask questions that challenge your loved ones’ short-term memory
- Break down activities into simple, manageable tasks
Providing the best care to a loved one with dementia can help them improve their quality of life and manage the condition’s progressive symptoms. Implement the above strategies to make everyday tasks and care more manageable.