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Support for YOU when Living with Dementia: A Guide for Care Providers

Posted Jun 27, 2015
Part Three of a Three Part Series on Dementia Care:

It’s important to remember, that Dementia does not only affect the person living with the disease, but those around them as well. Physical and emotional issues can arise from the psychological and emotional impact of coping with this disease. That is why, if you are a care provider for someone experiencing Dementia, staying positive and learning new ways to maintain your well being are also essential to care.

1. Home Safety – As wandering is a reality of living with Dementia, home safety is a crucial step to ensuring your loved one doesn’t experience any falls or mishaps. Clearing the hallways and walkways of the house is a good first step, as to avoid your loved one tripping over any objects out of their line of sight. Gating off stairways, bodies of water, or any other areas you believe could result in serious injury, could prevent serious accidents. Finally, ensure that there is a spare key hidden or given to someone you trust, so that getting locked out of the house has a quick solution.

2. Emotional Stress There are some methods of stress relief that you can partake in with your loved one, such as exercise, eating healthy, and various activities depending on their condition. However, making time for yourself is also important when you are caring for someone with Dementia. Reach out to friends, family or even in-home care companies and create a care calendar for your loved one that involves breaks for everyone. Use your free time to socialize, exercise, or just relax: all it takes is a few hours a week.

3. Verbal Communication – The way in which you speak to your loved one experiencing Dementia plays a big role in their environmental experience, which we learned helps to impact their moods. Speaking with your loved one in a clear voice, while making eye contact will show that you are trying to connect. Allow them enough time to respond, and repeat if necessary – it might take them a minute to process the information and formulate a response. Use hand gestures to better describe what you are asking of them, mirroring actions can aid their memory. Keep your body language neutral and relaxed, and use positive and supportive words – telling an adult they “can’t” or “don’t” can sometimes cause irritation and make your loved one feel foolish.

4. Holidays and Traditions – Although adjustments may have to be made around the holiday seasons, times spent with family are the most important part. Instead of shopping in a crowded mall, have your loved one do their shopping online. Give them a catalogue to browse through – so that the choice is still theirs – and avoid the sensory overload. Have the family over to chat about past holidays and events. Look through pictures and ask your loved one to recall their favourite holiday moment. These activities are great as they are not too busy, but require the right amount of attention from your loved one.

5. In-Home Support – In-home care support can range anywhere from assistance with chores, to aiding with the personal hygiene of your loved one. Think of that much needed break you were looking for, but couldn’t find the time to take. In-Home care providers can help with activities, exercise, meal prep – whatever you don’t have time for. Best of all, you can keep your loved one in a familiar environment. Sometimes even rearranging the furniture can come as a shock to them, so can you imagine what changing their living arrangements might do?

The best support any care provider or care giver can have when aiding someone with Dementia, is being educated. Preparedness ensures that you will be able to handle any situation to the best of your ability at any time. If you need a break – don’t worry – agencies like Always Home Homecare will be able to set up assistance for you, when you need it most.

Schedule a free assessment today!