Diseases categorized as dementia include Alzheimer’s, and they affect a person’s short- and long-term memory, moods, and ability to communicate, all of which can fill home life with ups and downs. However, it is possible to help a loved one with dementia live a comfortable and happy life at home.
If you’re in that position now, caregivers recommend these tips:
Simplify Your Communications
To be as clear and simple as possible, take a moment to fully compose your sentences before speaking. And, if you want to ask something, avoid open-ended questions—for instance, instead of saying “What would you like for lunch?” ask “Would you like soup or salad?” If the environment is chaotic, do what you can to limit the distractions before talking to your loved one.
Speak With Respect & Reassurance
Even when you feel frustrated, always speak to your loved one with positivity and respect. This will greatly affect your body language, which is often much louder than words. Your loved one will also be more likely to let you help them if you have an attitude of reassurance.
Listen to More Than Words
In addition to using body language, caregivers recommend attuning yourself to your loved one’s non-verbal cues. Intuition is key here: if you solely rely on verbal communication, you will have a difficult time understanding your loved one. Feel free to suggest words or phrases if they’re struggling to communicate something.
Utilize Healthy Distractions
People with dementia often remember things that didn’t happen or struggle with reality. Don’t try to contradict your loved one when they do this, as it likely won’t help—what’s really important is addressing the feeling they express. If they seem confused or anxious, suggest a calming activity, such as a walk or a snack.
Avoid Complicated Answers
Those with dementia may ask seemingly impossible questions. For instance, they may ask when they can “go home,” even when they are home. You can diffuse these situations by making up a simple answer and redirecting your loved one’s attention. They may ask the same questions repeatedly, regardless of your answer, so what’s important is to help them feel comfortable.
If you need help caring for a loved one with dementia, feel free to reach out to Polish Helping Hands. They’ve provided the Unionville, CT, area with home assistance since 1998, and offer a wide array of elderly care services. To inquire about their caregivers, call (860) 404-0499. More information is available online.