Memory impairment, diminished problem-solving abilities, and difficulty performing everyday functions are just some of the challenges a senior with a dementia-related condition may experience. If you’re caring for an older loved one with dementia, it’s understandable to have some concerns. The good news is there are ways you can effectively and compassionately care for your loved one. Here are some tips to help you out.
1. Avoid Unintentional Confusion
A question like “What do you want for breakfast today?” may not seem all that complicated. However, to someone with dementia, it could result in unintentional confusion or frustration. Instead, ask questions that either give a few options or only require simple “yes” or “no” responses. You may also be able to minimize confusion by:
• Sticking to a familiar routine
• Keeping furniture arrangements simple
• Placing frequently used items within plain view and easy reach
Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted University Park home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.
2. Have Patience
Seniors with dementia often find it challenging to process information and find the right words to express their thoughts. Understand that this puts your loved one under tremendous pressure on a daily basis. On days when you’re a bit rushed, remind yourself how your loved one must feel, and be patient. Doing so can reduce stress and anxiety for both of you.
3. Create a Pleasant, Peaceful Environment
Clutter creates sensory overload, and it can be even more overwhelming for seniors with dementia. Avoid this type of distress by creating a living space that’s pleasant and peaceful. Possible ways to achieve this goal for your loved one include:
• Using calm and subtle colors
• Choosing music that’s soothing and calm to create a peaceful ambiance
• Avoiding unnecessary background noise, such as leaving a TV on when nobody is watching it
• Placing fresh flowers and other sources of pleasant aromas around the home
Having a professional caregiver nearby can give you peace of mind about your loved one’s safety and comfort. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same homecare. Families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
4. Embrace the Power of Touch
Even something as simple as gently touching your loved one’s shoulder or face while brushing his or her hair can send a meaningful nonverbal message. Hand-holding is another great way to stay emotionally connected with a senior with dementia. Offering your hand to help your loved one remain steady can also help him or her maintain focus and a sense of security.
5. Laugh and Reminisce Together
An Australian study found that the act of telling jokes can have many of the same effects as medications designed to relieve stress and anxiety. Sharing a laugh with your loved one can also ease the tension that’s sometimes created when you’re around someone for long periods. A similar way to connect with your loved one in a fun and relaxing way is to share pleasant memories. Go through photo albums or ask your loved one to tell stories about his or her favorite times in the past.
6. Encourage Regular Exercise
Various studies suggest regular physical exercise stimulates brain activity. A sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, may make dementia-related symptoms more noticeable. Regular exercise also boosts circulation in the brain and promotes the release of chemicals that naturally ease stress and relieve pain, which can be beneficial if your loved one also has other issues such as arthritis.
There are many forms of exercise that can be safe, effective, and enjoyable for seniors with dementia. Some of these include:
• Walking at a comfortable pace
• Yoga, Pilates, and similar controlled-movement disciplines
• Swimming, water aerobics, pool therapy, and other water-based activities
• Doing a daily cardiovascular workout tailored to your loved one’s capabilities
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. University Park seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Call us at (214) 363-3400 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.