Providing dementia home care services for a loved one can often feel like an endless guessing game. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handbook that provided all the answers when needed? The different stages of the disease that need to be worked through cause it to become all the more difficult; the moment we start to feel somewhat skilled at handling one phase, we’re on to the next.
At All Care in Oregon, we know firsthand just how challenging dementia home care can be, and present the following tips to keep in mind that may help:
- Allow yourself to be human. Being human means being imperfect. Keep your expectations of yourself within reason, understanding that there will be times when you have sufficient patience and discernment, and times you wish you could do over. Don’t forget to take care of yourself; and be sure to remind yourself often that you are doing the best you can.
- Redirection works better than correction. When somebody with dementia is disoriented, using common sense to attempt to reorient the individual may end up in irritation for both of you. For instance, if the individual is searching for a childhood friend, rather than explaining that this friend passed on many years ago, ask the person to tell you more about the friend or to talk about a fun adventure they shared.
- Don’t be afraid to accept your loved one’s alternate reality. As our society has placed a high value on honesty, encouraging a loved one with dementia in something we know to be a lie just goes against our grain. Nevertheless, if the older adult truly believes he’s the author of the book you’re reading, it’s often a good idea to just play along and maintain the peace.
- Be realistic in both what the person can and cannot do. While our habit may be to take charge and take over everything for a person with dementia, it’s far better to pause and see what he or she is still able to do independently. Similarly, if the individual starts to experience agitation over a task, it’s time for you to step in and help.
- Doctors can learn something new, too. Make sure to share everything you’re witnessing in your loved one with the physician during medical visits. He or she can only provide the most effective course of action when all of the details are on the table.
Most importantly, it’s essential for family members providing dementia care to build a strong system of support. All Care is available to partner with you in providing professional dementia home care and Alzheimer’s care; contact us for more details.