Tips for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Nationwide, ordinary individuals are being thrust into the caregiver role for their aging parents. According to most recent estimates, millions of people are currently caring for a friend or family member with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. For many of these caregivers, their loved one’s daily care demands can be overwhelming. To help simplify the process and provide a little clarity during these trying times, here are some of our best tips for caregivers or people with dementia.

Everyday Care for Individuals with Dementia

When Alzheimer’s disease or dementia begins to present, most individuals will experience changes in their ability to remember, think, or reason to the extent that it affects their daily lives or activities. Ultimately, individuals with these cognitive diseases will need help with simple tasks that they cannot complete on their own, including bathing, dressing, or routine grooming. While receiving assistance may upset the individual receiving care, here are a few tips to help ease into the process early on:

  • Establish and stick to a routine. This includes creating a schedule to bathe, get dressed, and eat at the same time every day. Ultimately, this goal is to ensure that people with dementia have some structure that makes their daily lives and routines easier to manage and remember.
  • Help the person with dementia write down appointments, to-do lists, or other significant events on a calendar or notebook. While they may not be able to remember what is pending on their schedule, this will serve as a great reminder and can help them continue to rely on it with time.
caregiver smiling and talking to aged woman while taking care of her
  • Plan activities that the person with dementia enjoys and plan to do them around the same time daily. Again, this helps create an easy routine that they can rely on; however, deviation from this schedule can cause problems or make it hard for the person with dementia to adapt easily.
  • When bathing or dressing the person with dementia, allow them to do as much as they can on their own. This will help them maintain a sense of autonomy and give them a sense of accomplishment. Buying loose-fitting and easy-to-adorn clothing can help simplify the process.
  • Create a schedule for medications and meals. Having these outlined and placed on a schedule will make it much easier to create a routine that the person with dementia can follow and rely on. If possible, give meals at a familiar place each time and offer plenty of time for the person to eat without interruption.
  • Don’t forget to be respectful and gentle with the person with dementia. If needed, explain what you will be doing step by step when helping them bathe or get dressed. This can help ease them into the process and make them feel more comfortable with what is occurring.

Communication Barriers for Individuals with Dementia

It is not uncommon for communication to be a challenge for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia because they have difficulty remembering things. Because of this, they can often become agitated or angry or might have trouble finding the right words to express how they feel. Although this may also make you feel frustrated, maintaining patience and remembering that the disease is causing communication breakdown can help. Some other tips to ease into the process include:

  • Always speak calmly and reassure the person with dementia. Take time to listen to their concerns or frustrations and actively show that you understand how they are feeling. If possible, always encourage a two-way conversation as long as you can maintain it and respect their personal space and requests for quiet times
  • Keeping photographs and favored objects around the home can help a person with dementia feel more secure. These items can be a good distraction if you find that you have trouble communicating with words.
  • If the person with dementia does not remember the caregiver, remind them without using phrases like “Don’t you remember?” This can be counterproductive and may make them more frustrated with the situation.
  • Allow the person with dementia to maintain control over as much of their life as possible to help limit further frustration. Only step in if you find they are struggling or unable to complete needed tasks independently.
Female home care nurse supports and assists senior woman with all her daily needs
Female home care nurse supports and assists senior woman with all her daily needs

Caring For Yourself as a Caregiver

One final set of tips that we would like to provide is for you as a caregiver. While this process can be rewarding, it can also be extremely overwhelming at times. Sometimes you might feel alone or even angry. This is a sign that you are taking on too much alone and need to find the time to also take care of yourself to improve your own mental health. While this may not be possible without a support network, here are some tips that can help caregivers of people with dementia find some relief:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever it may be needed. The best places to start would be reaching out to family members and friends or determining what local services are available to help meet your needs.
  • Exercising as much as you can help ensure a positive mindset and keep you active. Some potential exercises that could be completed without a trip to the gym are yoga or a walk around the neighborhood. Research suggests that daily meditation may also reduce anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and more
  • Joining a caregiver’s support group can help you identify with others that are going through the same things at the same time. These meetings allow individuals to share their stories in a supportive environment while also helping them keep from feeling too isolated.
caregiver and senior resting in the garden
  • Maintain a healthy diet based on nutritious foods. While processed foods or take-out may be convenient, they often won’t provide the nutrients needed during this emotionally and physically demanding period.
  • Take breaks each day and spend time away from being a caregiver. If possible, spend time with your friends and maintain your hobbies to focus on keeping your routines in order as much as possible. The worst thing to do is just become reclusive and devote all of your time to caregiving.

Why Choose Deano’s Senior Transit?

Deano’s Senior Transit has made it a priority to help senior citizens in any way possible. Our mission is to deliver first-class service to senior clients with on-time arrival and short wait times for returns. For more information on the services Deano’s Senior Transit offers, contact us today or call us to request a ride!

Deanos Senior Transit Van