Caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is not easy. It can be emotionally, physically, and mentally draining – and it is often a thankless job. Caregiving for an elderly loved one on your own may be an option for those who do not work or do not have families of their own, but it may take some specialized expertise to care for someone with dementia, particularly as the disease progresses.
Caregiving can, and likely will, take over much of your waking hours if your loved one has dementia. That is one of the many reasons that using a home care provider to help makes sense. In considering your care options, you may want to consider what caring for someone with dementia would look like.
Caring for Your Loved One With Dementia at Home
Generally speaking, most individuals who suffer from dementia prefer to stay at home if at all possible. This is because home is “familiar territory” for them. Those who suffer from dementia are easily confused if you place them in a new environment with new people. Everyone is susceptible to this type of confusion, but those with dementia can react negatively, and sometimes violently, to change.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive diseases and symptoms of physical and cognitive decline will become more severe over time, and will require increased amounts of caregiving and attention to safely get through the day.
It is very common for family members to step up and do as much as they can to take care of their loved ones as they age, but they often cannot effectively do every caregiving duty someone with dementia needs to be secure at home. Providing also care places a physical, mental, and emotional burden on primary caregivers and other family members who often have other important responsibilities outside of caregiving. Sometimes these responsibilities get in the way of a caregiver’s ability to provide all the attention and support with the activities of daily living (ADLs) a loved one with dementia needs throughout the entire day – leading to feelings of guilt, sadness, frustration, and anger for those caregivers who wish they were able to do more.
However, there are some things caregivers can do to improve the quality-of-life of their loved one with dementia.
Tips for Communicating With a Loved One With Dementia
If you want to provide care in your home for your loved one, use these general tips to help your loved one through this difficult time.
Develop a routine and stick to it. Just as moving from a new location is difficult, straying from daily routines can be detrimental as well. Your loved one will do better if they know as much as possible of what to expect each day. This will help your loved one deal with confusion, which can lead to better behavior and cooperation.
Change the way you communicate. Your loved one is going to be much more easily distracted when he or she has dementia. If you want to have a serious conversation, minimize other noise or movement. Turn off the television or radio, say your loved one’s name before speaking, and make sure their eyes are on you. Use simple sentences and phrases, and be sure to exercise patience above all else. Repeating yourself is going to become extremely commonplace.
Encourage independence. Your loved one likely does not enjoy the idea of having to depend on someone else day in and day out. Encourage their independence by assigning them household chores or tasks. You would be surprised how much your loved one will enjoy their weekly chore of sweeping the floor or vacuuming. Be sure to adjust the assignment according to your loved one’s capabilities. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s condition, you may need to explain the task or show it to them. Be patient and direct when going through this process.
Exercise, Getting Outdoors, and Other Activities
It may be tempting to let your loved one sit in front of the television for days on end, but this is not a good idea. Movement and physical activity will slow the progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and can increase your loved one’s overall quality of life. Find activities that you both enjoy, whether it is walking around the neighborhood or playing a board game, fresh air and activity always helps.
Home Safety and Wandering
Your loved one’s confusion may result in them engaging in some unsafe behaviors, including wandering away from home and getting lost. You will need to install locks or deadbolts on all of the doors and windows, and you should take out the interior locks. Removing the interior locks will help prevent situations where your loved one locks themselves in a room, such as the bathroom, by themselves. Remove objects that may present a tripping hazard or other safety concern. Home safety may involve actually “child-proofing” your home for your loved one.
Visiting the Doctor
Your loved one will likely need to visit the doctor fairly regularly. You will need to arrange for transportation for your loved one on a regular basis if you are unable to fulfill this need. Schedule appointments at your loved one’s “best” time of the day. For many people who suffer from dementia, they are sharper in the morning than they are in the afternoon. You may want to wait to tell your loved one about the appointment until the day of the visit. This will help prevent worry or confusion.
Making a Home Care Professional Part of Your Team
There are many other home care aspects that you will need to consider for your loved one with dementia. A trained professional can help you make adjustments needed to ensure that your loved one is comfortable and achieving the best quality of life possible for their situation.
The in-home non-medical support services that we provide are very accommodating and flexible and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s care for individuals suffering from cognitive decline. They can always be adjusted accordingly to meet the varying needs and schedules of your loved one and family caregivers. Our professional care aides will allow you to manage the other aspects of your life, while giving you a well-deserved break by sharing the load of caregiving duties that can be difficult and emotionally or physically exhausting to deal with.
Primary caregivers can lament that they are not always able to physically be with their loved one, or are unable to take them along everywhere they need to go. Life is busy enough without having to look after someone else’s well-being, and we are able to provide relief and fill in the gaps in your schedule so your loved one is always accessing safe and supervised care, attention, and ADL support. We want you to experience peace of mind, knowing we are able to provide physical, social, and cognitive stimulation through comprehensive ADL support for your loved one with dementia – all in the convenience and familiarity of the home environment.
Contact us for a Free Home Care Evaluation!
It is okay to ask for help when help is needed. When it is time to ask for professional support with basic living needs, we are waiting to provide the support your family or loved one needs to maintain a high quality of life right at home.
Give us a call or contact us online for more information on how Comfort Home Care’s non-medical in-home services can benefit you, your family, and your loved one.