Providing care for a parent or relative who is living with any form of dementia has its challenges. It can be frustrating and overwhelming at times if you do not know the best way to handle a situation when he or she is upset and confused. Remembering that the circumstances are not your fault and that you are doing your best can help alleviate these challenges and diffuse a high-tension situation.
Keep in mind that their condition does not define your loved one. If provided with the compassionate care that they need, they can continue to live a fulfilling life. Oaks Senior Living, with family-operated memory care communities throughout Georgia, is dedicated to providing person-centered care.
To help you navigate your family caregiving journey of providing compassionate, individualized care, we have gathered the key elements regarding the dos and don’ts of providing dementia care.
Do …Nurture a Calm Environment
By providing a calm environment for your parent or relative with dementia, you help eliminate confusion and frustration. When tension is present, or there is a lot going on around them, it is more likely that your loved one will become confused.
Promote a calm living environment by removing clutter from the home and decorate minimally with neutral colors. Additionally, make sure the temperature of your home stays consistent at a comfortable level and limit excessive noise whenever possible.
Don’t …Argue with Your Parent or Relative
When your loved one becomes confused about what is happening around them, refrain from arguing with him or her. Arguing will only make the situation worse, increasing tension and cultivating a hostile environment. Understand that their confusion is challenging for them and is unintentional. Use a calm, reassuring voice when you speak and try to diffuse the situation by redirecting their focus onto something else.
Do …Support Independence
At any age and no matter what conditions are present, losing your independence is upsetting and can lead to feelings of discouragement. Just because your parent or relative is living with dementia, does not mean that he or she is incapable of performing the tasks of daily living.
Support your loved one’s independence by encouraging him or her to perform daily tasks for as long as possible.
Don’t …Talk As If Your Loved One is Not There
This point goes hand in hand with supporting independence. Treat your parent or relative like the individual that they are. Your loved one is still capable of doing things for him or herself, so do not think that they will not understand that you are talking about them when they are present in the room.
This is a common mistake that dementia caregivers make. It may seem like your loved one is confused, but do not undermine their dignity by underestimating how much they comprehend.
Do …Simplify Daily Activities & Establish a Routine
Establishing a familiar routine can go a long way in eliminating confusion. By sticking to a routine, your parent or relative will come to know what to expect out of each day and will be able to stay independent longer. This daily schedule should consist of simplified tasks.
Take the task of getting dressed. It can be easy for an individual to feel overwhelmed and confused when looking at so many options in their wardrobe and having to decide what to wear. Simplify this task by giving them the option between two outfits. This way, they remain independent by selecting their clothes and dressing, but you eliminate confusion by simplifying their choices.
Implement this into a routine. Start each day at the same time and in the same way, eat meals at consistent times every day, and follow the same nightly schedule.
Don’t …Take Circumstances Personally
Living with dementia is aggravating. If your parent or relative is lashing out, know that it is not directed at you. Their frustration is directed at the disease. By taking it personally, you upset yourself, which can make the situation worse. Instead, understand that it has nothing to do with you and redirect your loved one’s attention to calm them down.
As your family member’s condition progresses, it may become more challenging to provide the necessary level of dementia care. Oaks Senior Living understands this and is equipped to help. Our memory care neighborhoods offer person-centered care that promotes your parent or relative’s independence while ensuring that they receive the care that they need. For more information on our Horizons Memory Care program, we invite you to find an Oaks Senior Living community near you.