Helping People with Dementia Stay Connected
3 Tips for Helping a Loved One Deal with Dementia
An estimated 5 million people have been diagnosed with dementia. While there’s plenty of dementia-related information available online, assisting dementia patients can be quite lonely and overwhelming for caregivers. Despite their best efforts, caregivers are likely to feel frustrated and sometimes even hopeless—and it’s not hard to see why. It’s not easy to see a friend or loved one who is physically fine when they’re mentally, psychologically, and emotionally absent. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, here’s how you can help them:
1. Make Communication Easy for Them:
It’s not uncommon for individuals with dementia to be confused about dates, names, and places. Do not correct them—it’s better to have them interacting than withdrawing or struggling in silence. Talk to them about topics you know will interest them; for example, past interests or hobbies. But avoid asking open-ended questions, for these present challenges for dementia patients; instead, ask questions that simply require a yes or no. For those individuals who’ve withdrawn or cannot speak, acknowledge their facial expressions and reply as best you can.
2. Stay Connected:
Several studies prove that family and friends are very important for individuals living with dementia, for they help these individuals connect with the past. Celebrate festivals and family occasions with loved ones who have dementia, for doing so will put everyone in a good mood. Do this even if your loved one does not remember you. The Alzheimer’s Society says that people with dementia still retain emotional memory, so meeting loved ones stimulates feelings of happiness and familiarity.
If you cannot drive your loved one to an event, hire a home healthcare assistant from Med1Care to do so. We offer a wide variety of personal-care services, including grocery shopping, changing linen, light housekeeping, and running errands.
3. Develop a Routine for Daily Tasks:
Routines are associated with long-term memory. Disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia affect short-term memory first. Developing and utilizing schedules helps individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s even when they’re well into the middle stages of these diseases. Following a set of activities each day has several benefits: it helps reduce caregiver stress, it reduces anxiety and confusion in the patient, and it encourages the patient to be independent to a certain extent. For example, a patient with dementia should be encouraged to fold laundry, set the dinner table, and read the newspaper at certain times each day.
At Med1Care, we understand that consistency is key when it comes to helping patients with dementia. That’s why, whenever possible, we try to maintain consistency by sending familiar in-home healthcare staff—as opposed to rotating staff assignments.