Tips for Senior Care Providers In Los Angeles: 7 Ways to Deal With Dementia Effectively
There’s a telling tale about a son who becomes angered when his elderly father asks him the same question three times. The Dad reminds his offspring that when he was three years old, he would ask his parents questions, according to some statistics, sometimes three-hundred times a day, yet he never lost his patience with his child’s growing mind. It seems now the shoe is on the other foot, or more precisely, the age-related brain is in another body today.
This can be somewhat synonymous with caring for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who begin to experience symptoms of memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating and a host of other frightening conditions they can’t fully understand. They also experience mood and personality changes that can range from depression to hostility, anxiety and fear, feelings of loss and hopelessness can overwhelm them at times.
In this light, it is important to remember how challenging those who suffer from these debilitating diseases can be faced with, sometimes on a daily level. So here’s seven tips to be a better caregiver for those looking after a loved one with an aging mind:
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE RIGHT: Arguing insignificant issues with someone who has memory issues and a loss of rationale is pointless. If they think the carpet is pink instead of red, just let it go. It’s the equivalent of trying to reason with a toddler, it’s not going to get you anywhere and will just make both of you more irritated.
AVOID BEING GROUNDED IN REALITY: People who suffer from memory loss often forget significant life events, like the loss of a spouse or other family member. Trying to keep them in the present, reminding them of this pain if they forget the loss, will only hurt them further and repeatedly. Instead, try to redirect them to another subject.
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION: You can’t be a perfect caregiver, just the same as you can’t be a perfect parent. You shouldn’t hold yourself to ridiculously high standards, you’ll make mistakes and learn from them, just like anything else in life.
HONESTY ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY: While we don’t want to lie, we don’t necessarily need to be completely truthful when it comes to caring for someone with dementia. Being dishonest about little things, telling a little white lie here and there, isn’t going to hurt anyone and will help to avoid unnecessary stress.
BARGAINING WON’T WORK: Telling someone with memory issues not to repeat certain behaviors or offering them rewards for remembering tasks, even with reminders, obviously won’t work. Taking proactive measures is a better practice, like having a coffee pot that automatically shuts itself off rather than constantly reminding them that leaving it on the heat source can cause a fire.
THE DON’T ASK – TELL – POLICY: As brain functions decrease with dementia, simple questions can be unnecessary and place further stress on struggling thinking processes that don’t need to happen. For example, if your caregiving regimine includes meal preparation, don’t ask them what they want for dinner, simply make them something you know they’ll enjoy. Avoiding asking questions at mealtime will also help steer clear of answers like they’re not hungry or forget what they asked for and question what you have prepared.
YOU’RE NOT A SUPERHERO: You can’t do everything by yourself and sometimes you’ll need to reach out for help from friends and other family members. Keep a list of potential problem solvers that can do simple tasks for you like picking up prescriptions, grabbing a meal or staying with your loved one while you run an errand. This will also help to solicit offers of help and you won’t have to wait until the last minute when you’re desperate for a helping hand.
If you are in need of assistance, and you’ve run out of options, contact us for information on part-time assistance. We can offer check-in services, hourly care and more alternatives that can be custom-tailored to meet your specific needs.