Are you caring for a loved one with dementia? Is the diagnosis of dementia recent? As the primary caregiver for your loved one are you working out how best to care for your loved one? One of the most challenging aspects of watching a loved one struggle with dementia may be the sadness and confusion he or she may experience. As you begin your new role as the caregiver for your loved one with dementia we would like to share some ideas to help and encourage you.
1. Create an uncomplicated life. Your loved one with dementia may often be overwhelmed by the confusion of a situation. Create an atmosphere of calmness, structure and encouragement to comfort your loved one. Too many words, explanations, and voices are distracting so keep explanations as simple as possible to avoid further agitation.
2. Create and establish routines. Routines will definitely help your loved one with dementia. Most people, experiencing the symptoms of dementia, will feel safer with a routine. For example, you and your loved one can establish a morning routine. It could be waking up, going to the bathroom, washing hands, having breakfast, brushing teeth and taking a shower. Keep your meal times the same each day and include a daily walk in your routine. These routines will provide structure for your loved one. You can help your loved one remember the routines by having a written schedule hang on the wall or give them a small notebook to carry around with the schedule in it. If your loved one needs supportive devices, such as hearing aids or a walker, be sure to gently remind your loved one to use them.
3. Create an environment of calmness and refrain from arguing with your loved one. Part of the impact on the brain of your loved one with dementia may be making your loved one argumentative. As the caregiver for your loved one, be careful to not mirror your loved one’s anger with your anger. Create a plan for yourself if you begin to experience feelings of anger or irritation while caring for your loved one. The best thing you can do may be to step outside for a moment and catch your breath, or at least pause and count to five. You need to allow yourself time to reset, and remind yourself that the behaviors your loved one is exhibiting may simply be the symptom of his or her disease.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do, as your loved one’s primary caregiver, is to be kind to yourself. Never hesitate to reach out to your other family members for help. Caring for a loved one with dementia is a full time job. It may never go perfectly, so treat yourself with the same kindness that you treat your loved one. Remember, the fact that you are present and caring for your loved one can be the greatest source of support and comfort you can provide.
We know this topic may raise more questions that it answers and want to help you plan for the future, and the unexpected. Whether you're young and single or a married five-time great grandparent, your voice and wishes need to be known. Worley Elder Law, based in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, focuses on helping you understand your options in designing your Estate Plan or Elder Law needs. Whether it's preventative incapacity planning or establishing your legacy, we will take the time to explain every option and work with you to create a customized plan just as unique as you and your family are. Please do not hesitate to contact us to let us help you.