Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging at times, especially if it is your first time. Our caregivers here at Home Instead provide dementia home care everyday with many of our clients. Here is a list of our top five tips to help families new to caring for a loved one with dementia at home.
- Approach everyday with an open mind. Each day may present a new challenge and things that worked one day will not always work the next. Keeping your mind open to new and creative ideas to keep your loved one engaged, safe, and happy will help you on your journey providing the best care you can.
- Patience is key! You and your loved one are going to have good days and bad days. Some days will be frustrating and everything you try will seem unsuccessful. Give them and yourself some space and time to regroup and come back together. We know this new responsibility before you is not easy and all you can do is try your best.
- How you respond is important. You are going to want to say “don’t you remember” when they have forgotten people or events. They may forget a spouse, parent, or other loved ones who have passed. They may confuse people or ask the same question repeatedly. It is easy to want to correct them or tell them that they have already asked or told you something. Doing this can sometimes lead to frustration or agitation. What they are feeling or remembering in that moment is very real to them. You want to look at the world from their perspective. Listen to what they say, you may be able to ask questions to keep them engaged and learn something new. Arguing or disagreeing will never help. If something is deeply upsetting them make sure you remain calm and try and redirect their focus to another topic that is comforting to them.
- Remember that their disease is not them. They may say or do things that are uncharacteristic of who they used to be which can be shocking and upsetting. They may lash out and say things you know that they would never say. It is hard not to take offense to what they may say, but it is important to remember that their disease is physically changing their brain and what they say or do is a result of that.
- It is okay to ask for help. May it be from other family members, friends, your community, or even home care companies like Home Instead, there are people out there who can help. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be physically and mentally demanding. You may not want others to see the way your loved one has changed. It is hard to ask for help in any situation, but there are caring people out there who are willing and eager to help care for your loved one.