CogHere2Serve
August 11, 2022
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

How to care for someone with Dementia

Caring for a someone with Dementia entails a variety of difficulties for families and carers. People living with Dementia, whether from Alzheimer's disease or other similar illnesses, have a gradual biological brain illness that impairs their ability to recall things, think properly, interact with others, and care for themselves. Additionally, Dementia may result in mood swings and even alter an individual's personality and conduct. This information sheet discusses some practical solutions for resolving the troublesome behavior and communication concerns that often arise while caring for someone who has Dementia.

Ten Guidelines for Communicating with Someone Who Has Dementia

We are not born with the capacity to speak effectively with someone who has Dementia—but we can learn. Improving your communication skills can alleviate some of the stress associated with caring and will almost certainly enhance the quality of your connection with your loved one. Practical communication skills can also help you deal with unpleasant behavior that may arise when caring for someone who has a dementing disease.

Create a favorable environment for interaction. Your attitude and body language convey your emotions and ideas more effectively than words do. Create a pleasant atmosphere by conversing with your loved one in a pleasant and polite tone. Utilize facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical contact to assist in communicating your message and expressing your devotion.

Attract the individual's attention. Reduce distress and noise by turning off the radio or television, closing the curtains or closing the door, or moving to a calmer location. Before speaking, ensure that you have her attention by addressing her by name, identify yourself by name and connection, and use nonverbal clues and touch to assist in maintaining her concentration. If she is sitting, approach her on a level with her and keep eye contact.

Deliver your point succinctly. Utilize straightforward language and phrases. Slowly, clearly, and in a soothing tone, speak. Avoid raising your sound higher or louder; instead, reduce your pitch. If not comprehend the first time, repeat your message or query using the exact words. If he continues to be perplexed, wait a few moments and reword the inquiry. Use proper nouns (he, she, they) or abbreviations to refer to persons and locations.

Pose straightforward, resolvable questions. Ask a question at a time; yes/no questions work best. Avoid asking open-ended questions or providing an excessive number of options. For instance, you may inquire, "Would you want to wear your white shirt or your blue shirt?" Even better, demonstrate the possibilities to her—visual suggestions and signals may also assist in clarifying your inquiry and guiding her answer.

With your ears, eyes, and heart, listen. Be patient as you anticipate your loved one's response. It is ok to propose words if stumped for an answer. Recognize and react appropriately to nonverbal clues and body language. Always endeavor to listen for the meaning and emotions conveyed by the words.

It would help if you broke down activities into several stages. It significantly improves the manageability of several chores. You may encourage your loved one to do what he can, gently remind him of steps he often forgets, and help him with ones he can no longer do on his own. Visual cues, such as showing him where to lay the meal dish with his hand, are instrumental.

Distract and divert when the going gets rough. If your loved one gets irritated or disturbed, consider changing the topic or setting. For instance, you may solicit his assistance or propose going for a stroll. Before redirecting, it is critical to establish an emotional connection with the individual. You may remark, "I see you're upset—I'm sorry." Let us go have a bite to eat."

 

Respond affectionately and reassuringly. Individuals living with Dementia often experience confusion, anxiety, and self-doubt. Additionally, people often lose track of reality and may remember events that never happened. Avoid attempting to persuade them that they are incorrect. Maintain an awareness of the genuine emotions they express and react with verbal and physical displays of comfort, support, and reassurance. Sometimes, when everything else fails, holding hands, caressing, embracing, and praising the individual will elicit a response.

Reminisce over the good ol' days. Often, recalling the past is a calming and encouraging pastime. While many persons with Dementia may have difficulty remembering events from 45 minutes ago, they may vividly recollect their life 45 years ago. As a result, refrain from asking inquiries that depend on short-term memory, such as what the individual had for lunch. Rather than that, ask broad questions about the individual's distant past—this knowledge is more likely to be kept.

Keep a sense of humor. Utilize humor wherever feasible, but not at the cost of the other person. People with Dementia can maintain their social abilities and are often thrilled to join in on your laughter.

Managing Difficult Behavior

Among the most challenging perspectives of caring for a loved one with Dementia are the frequent personality and behavioral changes. You may overcome these obstacles most effectively by using your ingenuity, adaptability, patience, and compassion. Additionally, it is beneficial to avoid taking things personally and have a sense of humor.

To begin, examine the following ground rules:

We cannot alter the individual. The person for who you are caring has a neurological condition that has shaped his personality. When you attempt to influence or modify his conduct, you will almost certainly be unsuccessful or encounter opposition. It is critical to:

Attempt to accommodate the behavior, not to control it. For instance, if the individual insists on sleeping on the floor, arrange a mattress on the floor to provide him with more comfort.

Bear in mind that we can alter our behavior and physical surroundings. Changing our conduct often results in a change in the conduct of our loved ones.

Consult your physician beforehand. Behavioral disorders may have a medical basis: the individual may be in pain or suffering an unfavorable reaction to medicine. In certain circumstances, such as incontinence or hallucinations, medication or therapy may be necessary to help manage the situation.

Every action serves a purpose. Typically, people with Dementia are unable to communicate their desires or needs. They may do something, such as emptying the closet regularly, and we may question why. It is most probable that the individual satisfies a need to be active and productive. Always examine the individual's need to address via their behavior—and, wherever feasible, attempt to help it.

The behavior is elicited. It is critical to recognize that every conduct is triggered—it takes place for a cause. It may have been something a person said or said, or it may have been a shift in the actual surroundings. Disrupting the patterns we develop is key to altering behavior. Consider an alternative strategy or a different outcome.

What is powerful now may not be effective tomorrow. Due to the complexity of the variables influencing troublesome behaviors and the natural course of the illness process, remedies that are successful today may need to be adjusted tomorrow—or may cease to be successful altogether. The key to successfully handling challenging habits is to be innovative and adaptable in your approach to a specific situation.

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