What is the Best Care for Dementia Patients?
Dementia causes a severe decline in cognitive abilities, language, social, emotional, and behavioral skills that affect a person’s life and activities of daily living. A person with dementia struggles with personality changes, memory loss, the ability to focus, as well as a decline in communication and language skills, and visual perception. A progression of dementia typically affects a person’s reasoning, judgment, problem-solving, and emotional control.
Tips for Caring for Dementia Patients
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially challenging. People with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia suffer a progressive brain disorder that obstructs their ability to think clearly, make decisions, remember things, and communicate with others. They also experience personality changes, mood changes, aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression.
Learning strategies for dealing with the dementia patient’s challenging behavior and communication difficulties is vital when caring for someone with this disabling condition.
Boosting your empathy and improving communication skills will help improve the quality of your relationship with the person in your care, but it will also help make caregiving less stressful.
1. Set a Friendly Tone
People with dementia can be very sensitive to changes in your mood and body language. When caring for someone with dementia, set a positive, friendly tone for your day to day interaction. Provide care in a relaxed matter and smile often. Use a soft tone of voice, facial expression, and body language to send caring messages. Show your love and affection with a gentle touch, eye contact, and a smile.
2. Send Clear Messages
When talking to someone with dementia, keep the communication simple and concise. Speak slowly, and in a reassuring tone. Try not to raise your voice and repeat a message if needed. Speak making one point at a time and don’t give multi-step instructions.
3. Take Breaks
Take breaks when you sense that you (or the person in your care) are becoming overwhelmed. Try changing the dynamics of what you are doing or break down activities into smaller steps to make tasks less stressful. People with dementia often become agitated or aggressive. Gently redirect them or assist them with activities that they are not able to accomplish on their own.
4. Ask Simple Questions
Always ask one question at a time and refrain from offering multiple options or asking many questions at once. Also, offer visual choices to clarify your questions. For example, show the person two kinds of fruits when asking which one would they like to have.
5. Be patient
Ensure to always have a person’s attention when asking questions or giving instructions. Be patient while waiting for them to reply or perform a specific activity. Help them to express their thoughts or needs and observe for non-verbal signs and body language.
6. Show Affection and Offer Reassurance
Your loved one with dementia may often get confused, agitated, or anxious. Stay focused on their feelings and respond with verbal and non-verbal expressions of affection, comfort, and support. Provide reassurance when they feel confused. Revoke good memories, as this often has a soothing effect on dementia patients.
Dementia patients may refuse your help. When this happens, stay calm and try to find out what is the problem. Be positive and give clear explanations and instructions, respecting the person’s needs and allowing them to feel comfortable and safe.