Effective Tips for Caring for a Patient with Dementia
Caring for a patient with dementia requires a deep and compassionate understanding of the individual's changing needs, in addition to the patience and internal fortitude to navigate those changes over time. Understanding the challenges facing those affected by dementia and how best to support them throughout their journey requires knowledge, dedication, and self-care.
However, as daunting as it may seem, knowing how to care for a senior with dementia is possible by learning more about the condition and what you can do to keep them safe, healthy, engaged, and happy even when symptoms advance.
Read on for our top tips on caring for seniors with dementia!
What is Dementia?
According to the Alzheimer's Association, "Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain."
Dementia can manifest in many different forms. Some of the most common symptoms include memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving and decision-making due to cognitive changes, and behaviors like agitation or aggression.
Tips for Caring for Patients with Dementia
Looking after someone with dementia can be difficult, yet there are many strategies to make it simpler. Here are some helpful hints for providing the best care possible for a senior dealing with dementia:
Learn as Much as You Can About the Condition
Before caring for a patient with dementia, it is crucial to learn as much as you can about the condition. This will help you understand what they are going through and how best to support them. Start by researching the condition online and reading up on dementia in books or magazines. It is also necessary to talk to professionals such as doctors, nurses, and social workers.
Establish a Routine
Routines can help make living with dementia more manageable for the person affected by it and their caretaker. Establishing a daily routine that is consistent and predictable can help manage behaviors. It can provide structure and security to those who may become disoriented or confused due to the condition. It's important to keep the routine simple, with activities that take up a reasonable amount of time.
Caring for someone with dementia can be overwhelming and tiring, especially when managing behaviors that are out of the ordinary. To provide the best possible care, it's important to remain patient. Be mindful of how you address their needs and respond to challenging behaviors. Given their diminished abilities, it can be easy to forget that they are still the same person they have always been. They deserve to be treated with respect and understanding.
Encourage Physical Activity
Engaging in physical activities is an important part of living with dementia. Regular exercise can help improve and maintain cognitive functioning and reduce agitation or restlessness that may arise due to the condition. There are many ways to encourage physical activity for someone with dementia, such as taking walks around the neighborhood or engaging in light exercise at home.
Stimulate Their Senses
The senses can be a powerful tool for stimulating someone with dementia. Utilizing activities that involve sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste can help to engage the person on an emotional level and bring pleasure to their day-to-day life. This could include playing music or looking at pictures of loved ones, cooking meals together, and using different fabrics to stimulate the sense of touch. Taking advantage of these activities can help bring comfort and joy to those who are living with dementia.
Keep Them Safe
Safety should be a priority when caring for a patient with dementia. Be aware of potential triggers that may cause confusion or disorientation and take steps to prevent them from occurring. This could include removing trip hazards from the home, using alarms on doors and windows, and providing consistent supervision when the person is outside. It's also important to ensure that any medication or treatment is being taken properly. Also, be aware of any potential side effects that may arise from these treatments.
Let Elite Home Health Care Help
Caring for a family member with dementia can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. However, it's also an opportunity to provide comfort and support to your loved one. With patience, understanding, and access to the right resources, you can help ensure that your family member receives the best care possible.
Ready to get started with at-home therapy for your loved one? Elite Home Health Care has the expertise and resources you need. Reach out today and bring in a highly trained caregiver who will provide quality care with an extra personal touch that comes from having them right there in the home!
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.