In some cases, the most beneficial lessons in life arise through experiencing them firsthand; yet the information we are able to glean from those who have walked the same path before us is invaluable. If you’re providing care for someone you care about with a dementia diagnosis and feeling a bit overwhelmed in this uncharted territory, the advice below will help:
- A brief break tends to make a big difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it is better to stop whatever activity or task she is taking part in, and allow a chance for a breather. Modify the environment by going into a different room or outside if the weather permits, play some favorite music, browse a photo album, or bring to her attention the different birds and flowers you see. When peace is restored, you can try the task once again, frequently with considerably better outcomes.
- Stop rationalizing. Attempting to establish a point or win a quarrel is hardly ever useful when talking with a senior with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will be done, permit the older adult to maintain her own personal reality.
- Conquer denial. Although it may be human nature to want to deny that there’s a challenge, acknowledging warning signs of dementia and seeking medical attention at the earliest opportunity is necessary to obtain the medical care and treatment needed.
- Check medications. The side effects of certain medications have the ability to cause increased confusion and cognitive difficulties – sometimes more so than the disease itself. Put together an in-depth listing of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review with the senior’s physician to confirm that the advantages surpass any side effects.
- Take good care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant risks for family members caring for a senior with dementia. Make sure that you’re carving out some time for self-care, socializing, and activities which you enjoy. Bear in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and recharged.
- Be aware that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Even though the person you love is going through some hard changes, it’s very important to appreciate that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness regardless of the disease. Investigate various kinds of fun-filled activities for the senior to boost socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and stay physically active.
JFS Care, the top-rated home health agency in Burbank and the surrounding communities, is always here to offer the support you will need to make sure your loved one with a dementia diagnosis will be able to live life to the fullest. Call us at (213) 383-2273 for additional details on our highly specialized in-home dementia care for seniors. Click here to see our full service area.