Tips for family members to take care of dementia patients at home

Coping and caring for someone suffering from dementia is an emotional roller coaster. Since there is no specific form of care, it is often the support and caregiving that make a major difference in improving your quality of life. This is a remarkable gift, and you can look forward to seeking help in terms of counselling for dementia.

Care giving can turn out to be a difficult task. Since your loved one’s physical, mental, and cognitive abilities diminish over time, it is easy to become disheartened and neglect your overall health and well-being. Just like an individual suffering from dementia progresses differently, so too, the caregiving facilities vary from one person to another. But there are strategies that aid you as a care giver and make your journey rewarding and challenging.

The rewards and challenges of dementia care

Caring for a patient with dementia is a sign of grief experience as you watch their skills erode and memories fade. An individual suffering from dementia will behave in strange, sometimes disturbing and confusing ways. For both the care givers and the dementia patients, this is an emotional wallop of confusion, sadness, and frustration.

Since the disease is expected to vary according to different stages, the needs of your loved ones will increase. Then your caregiving and financial responsibilities increase at the same time, and the stress, fatigue, or isolation becomes intimidating. The worst part is that the ability of your loved ones to show appreciation for your efforts also decreases. Caregiving may seem to be a thankless task.

Reduce frustration

A person suffering from dementia may become agitated when they are not able to accomplish simple tasks. To ease frustration and reduce challenges,

  • Schedule wisely. Establish a daily routine. Certain tasks, like medical appointments or bathing, are easy when a person is refreshed. Allow some degree of flexibility for spontaneous tasks.
  • Involve the person: Involve the person suffering from dementia to do as much as possible with less assistance. An example is that they may be able to set the table with visual cues or dress independently if the clothes are in front of them.
  • Provide choices. Choices are necessary but not too much. For example, you can ask them to choose between two types of beverages, hot or cold, or ask them whether they will go for a walk or see a movie.
  • Limit napping: A dementia clinic in Ernakulum suggests napping should be limited during the course of the day. This minimises the possibility of daytime and night-time reversals of roles.

Formulation of a safe environment

Dementia impacts problem solving skills and judgement, increasing the possibility of injury. To enhance safety,

  • Use locks: Locks are to be installed on cabinets that contain anything dangerous, such as guns, alcohol, dangerous utensils, and tools.
  • Fire safety precautions should be taken: lighters or matches should be kept out of reach of children. If a person suffering from dementia smokes, supervise their smoking sessions. Make sure that a fire extinguisher is available around the corner.

Be flexible

Over a period of time, a person suffering from dementia will become independent. To reduce frustration, be flexible and adaptable as per your expectations and routine. An example is that if the patient wants to wear the same outfit every day, it is better to purchase a few identical outfits. If bathing is met with resistance, consider doing it less often.

Every person suffering from dementia will experience symptoms and progression in a different way. Caring for a dementia patient comes with its own set of challenges, but it also comes with a comfortable lifestyle and numerous rewards.

Caring for any patient with dementia establishes a connection with the individual at a deeper level. If you were already close, it is expected to bring you much closer. Suppose, even if you were not closer before, it could resolve the differences and build new connections with the family members.

An act of caring provides you with a new outlook towards life. Most people find that the priorities in life change after that. The day to day worries tends to fade away and they become focussed in life.