Being a caregiver for a senior with dementia is a fluid, ever-evolving undertaking. One day can be calm and peaceful, with your loved one enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the following day might be fraught with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. Exactly what will today bring with dementia caregiving? Deciding how to best manage the challenging behaviors as well as ensure life is as pleasant and comfortable as it can be for someone with dementia could be made easier through a simple tool: journaling for dementia caregivers. Here’s how you can implement it in your day-to-day caregiving routine, and how to make use of your journal to increase quality of life for your loved one:
- Monitor symptoms and care needs each day. Your notes do not need to be extensive, but jot down any difficulties that occur, such as time of day and what could have sparked the challenges. Also include activities the senior was able to execute independently, in addition to the ones that were difficult. At the conclusion of every week, review the behaviors to find out if a pattern can be noticed – such as heightened agitation before meals or bedtime.
- Track eating habits. Journaling for dementia caregivers is great for tacking habits. Observe which foods are most attractive to your senior loved one, which are easiest for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks are being eaten and also at what times during the day, etc. Don’t forget to include beverages, to guarantee the older adult is taking in satisfactory levels of water to stay hydrated. In looking at your notes, you may find that six smaller meals through the course of the day are better for your family member than three larger ones, for example.
- Track safety issues. Maintaining safety is a top priority in dementia care, with an array of dangers which can result from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, in particular thinking a household cleaner might actually be a sports drink. Securing hazardous items or positioning them in out-of-reach places is extremely important, and keeping a list of changes made to the house environment for safety’s sake can be very helpful to alert other family members to potential risks.
It is also recommended to take your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns documented to his / her attention. This enables you to be fully prepared in advance of appointments with concerns you need to get answered, taking advantage of the short time available to consult with doctors.
Contact our highly trained and knowledgeable dementia caregiving experts for more tips along with specialized in-home care that improves safety while maximizing independence, purpose, and meaning – making every day the best it can be for someone with dementia. Call us at (855) 455-2273 to learn more about home health services in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.