10 Tips for Dementia and Alzheimer's Care
Memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease can be daunting. It not only affects the people suffering from it, but also their relatives, friends and loved ones.
(Senior Woman Photo: Damir Bosnjak via Unsplash)
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are generally associated with old age, as the nerve endings do not fire to the potential that they used to, which can result in a gradual degradation of memory power and cognitive skills.
Although there is an inevitable decline in the quality of life due to deterioration, rendering proper care and support ensures that it can be better managed – important when you consider that there is no permanent cure for Alzheimer’s Disease yet.
There are many help groups and organizations available these days who specialize in care-giving for Alzheimer’s, memory loss, or other forms of dementia.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care
There are few ways in which Alzheimer’s or memory-care facilities for seniors and older adults can function well.
When you talk about providing care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, it mainly revolves around making them feel as independent as possible and also assisting them in day to day activities.
The perspective of keeping it completely safe and supportive while stimulating brain activity, needs to be kept in mind at all times.
Most of the service providers who engage in Alzheimer’s and dementia care generally employ highly skilled employees, as dealing with these patients is not easy. It needs a lot of patience and empathy. For someone who has just started out in care-giving, it can become quite frustrating.
Ten Care-Giving Tips for Dementia Patients
A guidelines to keep in mind while taking care of these types of patients:
1. Schedule Wisely
Proper scheduling is of utmost importance here. The trick with working well with dementia patients is to introduce a certain amount of repeatability into it, along with room for changes as well. Schedule the daily activities of a person based on their individual energy levels, interests, and mental state. It will become much easier when you understand the patterns of a patient.
2. Set a Positive Mood For Interaction
You will mostly be caring for the older population who have high self-esteem. Sometimes they may be an air of negativity, because older adults and seniors tend to feel that they have become incapable of fending for themselves. You should strive to dispel such an environment. Do not make them feel handicapped. Set a positive tone by talking to them as an equal and keeping open communication at all times.
3. Provide Simple Instructions
As mentioned before, with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a gradual decline in the cognitive potential of an individual is also noticed. Therefore, providing instructions that may become difficult to follow can become a harrowing experience for the patients. Keep it as simple as possible so that they can comprehend and execute it in the best way possible.
4. Encourage Engagement
“Remember” – nobody likes a loss in memory. It can become a difficult experience for an individual suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia as incompetency sets in. Instead, give them all the encouragement that you can and keep them engaged. Make them do their own tasks and give them the freedom of choice as and when needed.
5. Provide Nutritious Meals
Even though dementia is mainly a mental disorder, its physical implications should not be disregarded in any way. You should provide a balanced diet with a lot of essential elements so that the body and the brain can keep functioning as optimally as possible. Certain types of foods encourage brain sharpening and should be incorporated in the diet provided by senior assisted-living homes and facilities.
6. Actively Empathize
You have to accept the fact that having Alzheimer’s can become disheartening. There should be an active amount of empathy in caregivers working with such patients. Don’t show sympathy or feel sorry for them, but show them you realize that you understand what they are going through and you are there for them.
7. Maintain Your Sense of Humor
Having a good sense of humor can go a long way in setting a positive environment when dealing with patients suffering from dementia. Therefore, maintain your humor and joke around with the patients to make them feel comfortable in your presence.
8. When the Going Gets Tough, Distract and Redirect
There is no denying the fact that bad moods and behaviors can occur. You must understand when a situation is deteriorating and quickly take the necessary steps to distract their mind, and redirect them to something more conducive to positive thoughts and actions.
9. Respond With Affection and Reassurance
Everyone likes being shown love and affection and these patients are no different. Reassure them that you are always available to them 24/7 and they can trust you as a friend more than a caregiver. These are all ways to gain their confidence.
10. Remember the Good Old Days
Last but not the least, help them remember the past with fond memories and to look at themselves with pride. This will help reduce their feelings of self-doubt.
Alzheimer’s and dementia care is definitely not easy. If you follow the tips mentioned above, it may ease the process considerably for you.
*This article is for general informational purposes only. 50+ World does endorse any product or service providers, nor does it receive remuneration from them. Obtain expert advice from a qualified practitioner about your unique care-giving situation.*