9 Tips to Providing Care to a Loved One with Dementia

By , 9:00 am on

Being the caregiver to a senior loved one without cognitive deficits may differ from caring for a senior with dementia. Cognitive deficits often change the dynamic between seniors and caregivers, which can lead to a negative outcome. Fortunately, there are some tips for caring for a senior with dementia that may result in a more positive experience for both you and your loved one.

1. Explain All Procedures

Dementia may cause your loved one to be more suspicious of certain things you do for them. For example, your loved one may be afraid to bathe, get into the car, or have their hair brushed. Always explain all procedures to your loved ones before performing them because they may have forgotten what a bathtub or brush is. Gentle reminders and explanations can diminish fears and apprehension, resulting in a more positive outcome.

The cognitive challenges accompanying dementia often leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Tampa, Florida; families can trust. We also offer comprehensive Care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Offer Choices

People with dementia sometimes feel they have no control, which can lead to anxiety, combativeness, and agitation. When performing activities of daily living, allow your loved one to make choices. For example, your loved one can choose their clothing or whether to have coffee or tea. Offering even simple choices such as these may cause your loved ones to feel as though they have more control.

3. Reduce Frustrations

Taking care of senior with dementia

A senior with dementia may become agitated when tasks that used to be simple become challenging. You can help reduce their frustrations by:

 

  • Sticking to a schedule: Establishing a routine can help reduce your loved one’s stress and anxiety. They’ll know what to expect, which can help them feel more secure and comfortable.
  • Spreading out tasks: It may take your loved one longer to complete daily tasks than it used to. Build extra time into their schedule so they can move at their own pace. Including breaks between tasks can also help.
  • Giving them agency: Allowing your loved ones to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance can help them maintain their sense of confidence and independence.
  • Providing simple instructions: Seniors with dementia typically do best with concise, one-step communication.

4. Create a Safe Environment

Dementia impairs judgment and problem-solving skills, which can increase your loved one’s risk of injury. However, byHowever, by taking a few precautions, you can help ensure your loved one’s safety. Some precautions include: 

  • Removing fall hazards: Avoid extension cords, unsecured rugs, and clutter that could cause your loved one to trip and fall. You can also install handrails in strategic areas to help your loved one move around safely.
  • Installing locks: Use locks on cabinets and closets that contain potentially hazardous items, such as medications, harsh cleaning products, tools, and utensils.
  • Ensuring fire safety: Keep lighters and matches out of reach, ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and store a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location.

5. Understand Medication Side Effects

Many medications have side effects that can worsen cognition. For example, prescription pain relievers, certain blood pressure medications, psychotropic medications, and certain antihistamines can lead to confusion and forgetfulness. In a person who already has dementia, these side effects can be devastating. If you notice your loved one seems more disoriented or confused while taking medications, make an appointment with their physician to evaluate the medications’ side effects and determine if they’re exacerbating the symptoms of dementia.

6. Be Aware of Sundowning

Sundowning is a phenomenon characterized by disorientation, confusion, and agitation when the sun goes down. This condition is common in people with dementia or other cognitive deficits, so you should be aware that it may happen to your loved one. If your loved one exhibits an increase in confusion after dark, don’t leave them alone. Also, provide adequate lighting, so pathways are illuminated, which reduces the risk for falls. In addition, make sure to keep all doors and windows locked and secured, so your loved one is unable to wander away from the premises. 

Wandering, confusion, anger, and frustration are common in older adults with dementia. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Tampa 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 in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

7. Provide A Nutritious Diet

Dementia can sometimes cause poor appetite, which may result in nutritional deficiencies that make your loved one sick. If your loved one doesn’t have much of an appetite, make sure to prepare nutrient-dense foods for them. When your loved one does eat, they should consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. If you notice a severe decrease in appetite or observe your loved one is losing weight, see their physician as soon as possible. While a poor appetite may be a consecuence of dementia, it could also be a sign of another disorder.

8. Keep in Touch with the Physician

One of the most important aspects of effective dementia care is keeping in touch with your loved one’s physician. When your loved one sees a healthcare provider regularly, they can monitor him or her for subtle changes in behavior that may indicate the dementia is progressing. If subtle changes are recognized and treated early on, who can slow progression.

9. Find Resources for Coping With Caregiver Stress

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be overwhelming and stressful. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. Taking regular breaks and seeking support from family and friends can help make caregiving more manageable. You may also find comfort in speaking with a social worker or therapist who has experience working with caregivers. 

Support caring for a senior with dementia

In-Home Dementia Care From Home Care Assistance

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. In addition, 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 Tampa senior home care provider. 

At Home Care Assistance, we provide personalized dementia care programs to meet our clients’ unique needs. We offer flexibility to accommodate your senior’s evolving needs and ensure a high quality of life at every stage of the disease. 

We pair your loved one with a fully vetted, extensively trained caregiver who specializes in dementia care. In addition, we ensure the caretaker’s personality aligns with your seniors to foster a strong connection and enjoyable care experience.

Contact Us to Learn More

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. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (813) 488-5804 today or connect with us online.

▲ Contact Us Today