Senior Care Center’s Tips For Dementia Caregivers

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( — July 3, 2019) — When caring for a patient or loved one with dementia, learning as much as you can about the condition can help you provide better care, giving them the support that they need to live the best life they can. The tips below from Senior Care Center can make a big difference for both of you, resulting in better outcomes all around.

1. Keep Things Simple

People with dementia have a harder time processing ideas and making connections. This can make it difficult for them to answer detailed questions or to process information that is presented in a way that is vague or confusing. Senior care articles and experts advise trying to keep things as simple as possible. For instance, instead of asking “what do you want for dinner?” ask something like “do you want spaghetti for dinner?” Try to give them a single option or ask yes or no questions so that they have an easier time answering.

2. Slow Down And Approach Each Day With Patience

People with dementia usually experience a lot of agitation and anxiety. Losing their ability to think or speak clearly is naturally stressful and can put them under a lot of pressure. As a caregiver, part of your role involves helping them deal with this pressure as effectively as possible. Even though you probably have a lot that you need to do each day, you need to slow down and take things one step at a time. If you try to get someone with dementia to do things more quickly, it can increase their level of confusion, which can result in even greater delays.

3. Make Their Surroundings Relaxing

Spaces that are cluttered naturally increase stress levels, overloading the senses. This is particularly problematic for people with dementia. Creating a more calming space can have a big impact on their ability to function. Along with cleaning up any clutter, you should also paint the walls in a soft, muted shade, avoiding bright colors or intricate patterns. If you want to put on music, choose something that is soft and relaxing. Avoid leaving the TV on all day. Consider introducing pleasant aromas, as well, by bringing in essential oils, fresh flowers, or scented sachets.

4. Use Touch To Demonstrate That You Care

To reassure your loved one, try spending time combing their hair. If you need to get their attention, try holding hands with them. This can help calm them, making them feel more connected and helping to ease their fears. Allowing them to grip your hand can also help them stay more focused. Interestingly, researchers have found that the action of creating a fist has a positive effect on the brain and can even stimulate memories.

5. Find Ways To Make Them Laugh

The saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is a lot truer than you might think. Australian researchers recently found that sharing jokes with the person you are caring for can dramatically reduce stress. The effect is similar to what takes place when patients are given stress-relieving medication. As an added bonus, sharing laughter with your loved one can also go a long way toward relieving your stress, making it easier to deal with the demands of being a caregiver.

6. Encourage Exercise

Studies have found that regular activity can reduce the rate at which the brain ages. On a related note, some researchers have also found that being sedentary can increase the risk of dementia. Exercise helps increase blood flow to the brain. Encourage your loved one to exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. This can improve their ability to focus and can help them think more clearly.

Acting as a caretaker for a person you love who is struggling with dementia is extremely challenging. If you want to help your loved one live the best life possible, finding ways to keep them relaxed and focused can help them feel happier and more fulfilled. It also can make your job as a caretaker easier. Even though the process of being a caretaker is challenging, it is also quite rewarding. The bond that you develop with your loved one when caring for them is unlike any other and can be really gratifying for both of you.

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