How Can I Care for Someone With Dementia?
Posted on 14th December 2022 at 08:47
Wondering how to care for someone with dementia in your life? We know how troubling it can be to navigate the condition and manage the cruel symptoms. At Allwell care, our team cares for and supports those battling dementia each and every day, and have become accustomed to dealing with its effects.
So, let us help you, by providing quality care to meet the needs of you or your loved ones.
Devise a Schedule and Routine
Now, let’s get into today’s article and explore ways in which you can care for someone with dementia.
Why is a routine important?
Establishing and adhering to a routine when caring for someone with dementia is critical. Research shows that in the beginning stages of the disease, routines help people with dementia to navigate their day-to-day life in an orderly way. Put simply, this becomes more important over time as they begin to become less aware of time. Furthermore, the routines are known to be stored in long-term memory, something which remains fresh even in the middle stages of the disease.
But not only does this benefit the individual with dementia, but also the carer as it is proven to decrease stress and allow for easier, more straightforward care.
Quick tips for creating a routine:
Keep the routine the same where you can e.g the day they like to do their shopping
Incorporate physical activity into the routine
Add music to the routine where you can
Involve the individual in the creation of a daily routine
Include activities that help stimulate them
Creating and maintaining a routine is invaluable in the care of someone with dementia, and for the ease of the carer.
In order to reduce the frustration of both the person with dementia and the carer, some flexibility is needed. For example, even though you may think it is necessary to wear different clothes every day, the individual with dementia may not. So consider making the needed adjustments that will make this less of a point of tension. Buy multiple sets of the same outfit rather than trying to convince them otherwise, to make care and their life easier.
You will find that further into the disease, the individual becomes more and more dependent. Therefore, to accommodate this try adopting this more flexible approach.
Allow Autonomy and Independence
Although this is easier in the early stages of dementia, allowing for some independence can make for an easier relationship between the carer and the individual with dementia. This includes allowing them to perform basic tasks that they can do with minimal assistance i.e visual cues. Allow them to clear the table if they can do it safely, as it gives a sense of autonomy and ultimately, boosts self-esteem.
Another way in which you as a caregiver can encourage independence is through choice. A great example of this is:
Rather than this:
Carer: “Would you like a drink?”
Carer: “Would you like a drink?”
He/she with dementia: “Yes please”
Carer: “Would you like a hot or cold drink?”
The inclusion of a simple choice makes all the difference and gives the individual being cared for a sense of control and independence. Even something as simple as asking if they would prefer a hot or cold drink can instil a sense of autonomy.
Create a Safe Environment
It may already seem as though your loved one is in a safe environment in the comfort of their own home. However, there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of injury to someone with dementia.
This includes the following:
Taking fire safety precautions
Every household keeps matches and lighters handy, but in the hands of someone with dementia, a lot could go wrong. Keep these out of reach of the individual at all times, particularly as they progress through the stages of the disease. Additionally, check that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, with fresh batteries if needed.
If the individual smokes, ensure that they are supervised when doing so also.
Prevent Falls and Trips
You can prevent falls and trips by keeping the individual’s home clutter-free. In particular, ensure that the floors are kept clean and free of clutter. Some common items to avoid include extension cords and scatter rugs, which are known to cause injury and falls.
Many households choose to install handrails and grab bars in critical areas that might be a hotspot for injury.
Use Locks if Needed
If the household has cabinets which contain:
Toxic cleaning chemicals
Consider using locks to eliminate the risk of the individual with dementia potentially hurting themselves.
Consider Contacting a Professional
It’s okay to feel as though you can’t do this alone, and we at Allwell Care help people everywhere feel better about their care.
The effects of dementia can be immensely difficult to deal with, both emotionally and physically, and there is no shame in calling in a professional carer to help alleviate some of the stress associated with this.
Contact the Allwell Care team to discover what we can do for you and your loved one, today
Share this post: