Having a loved one who is suffering from a difficult disease is a tough thing to experience, especially when there is nothing you can do about it. It is natural that we want to help people in need, our closest friends and family the most, which is why feeling helpless hurts so much and often makes those around the suffering person increasingly anxious and depressed.
If you have an elderly person close to you who has shown increasing signs of dementia, you know exactly what we mean by this. Dementia is a state that usually affects older people and manifests in the general state of cognitive decay, often paired with Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders. It is challenging to look at how the person you knew is suffering and slowly losing the grip on life, trying to remember where they are and who their family members are.
However, there is still a lot you can do to help your loved one, even if they are experiencing dementia thrive. Despite the disease taking over quicker and quicker, there are certain techniques and activities you can practice in order to slow it down and make it easier for those in need. In this article, you will have the chance to learn what you can do and how. In case you wish to find out more about the topic or seek professional help for someone experiencing dementia, make sure to visit Assured Assisted Living. They specialize in taking care of elderly and sick people and employ cutting-edge care approaches with happiness and health for them in mind.
What you Need to Do
Before we move on to the actual things you need to do with someone that has dementia, we must help you with advice on how to cope with the whole situation. Staying positive is the most important thing because you are now responsible for not only yourself but someone in desperate need of assistance with basic everyday life. Dementia cannot really be controlled or contained, which is why you will surely face a lot of trials. R
Try to be positive when you communicate with them and pay attention to everything, from your tone to your body language. Facial expressions are particularly important. The disease is affecting them, but it is also indirectly changing your life too, meaning certain changes have to happen there as well.
Furthermore, since you already know that the dementia patient in your life will constantly be struggling to remember things, give them reminders the right way and do not be imposing. They will feel sad, angry, and frustrated at times, particularly when they completely forget who and where they are for a bit. Let it pass, allow them to express what they feel, and help them calm down. Constant reminding will be a daily occurrence so do your best to make a habit of it.
Last but not least, if you need help in any way, call a professional assisted living service or a caretaker. There are numerous ways to help them and yourself with all of the work. Find the best combination that suits you and never forget to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. You too will need someone to confide in during these hard times, so have a family member or a friend close by for support.
Dealing with a Person with Dementia
Now that we have the basics covered, here are some of the best things you can do to help and ease the suffering of a loved one whose dementia is progressing.
1. Set a Positive Mood
As mentioned, the general attitude you bring to the conversation and interaction has to be positive. Body language often speaks louder than words so make sure your gestures and facial expressions convey happiness and a positive, relaxing mood. Show affection, caress their hands, or tap them gently as you talk. Physical touch is a great tool to show familiarity and a state of comfort.
2. Attention is Key
Since the patient will probably have many questions about the general state of affairs, from basics like the place they are and the time, they will seem all over the place with things they want to know. In such situations, distractions will appear all around them including noises from the street or the TV, the usual sounds we never pay attention to, and so on. To eliminate these and give them your full attention, try to turn off all the devices, have them go to a quiet part of the home, and close the doors and windows until they feel better. You have to get their attention if you mean to help them. If they are not listening to you with all they have, they will have a lot of trouble keeping up and remembering.
3. Convey Messages Clearly
While talking, try to use simple language structures. Short sentences and simple words are best. In addition, speak slowly, distinctly, and articulate everything with more effort and clarity. Your tone should be reassuring. The harder the subject matter, the slower and more precise you should talk to them. Repeat as much as you have to, rephrase what you said, and use things they already remembered to help them further their memory. The same goes for questions. Keep it simple, easily answerable, and short.
4. Break Things Into Steps
Whether it is talking or simply walking around the house, or if you found a special activity the person enjoys, you have to implement it in easy to understand steps. The easier the better. Once they manage to overcome a step and move on, they will feel like they stepped over an obstacle and be excited, fulfilled even. Encourage them along the way and remind them what a great job they are doing. If they struggle at certain challenges, assist them, and give them cues and clues. Use visuals, point to objects, give them the first few sounds of the word. Once you find the best system, stick to it, at least until it keeps working for them.
5. Distraction and Redirection
If you hit a point where you see your loved one has a lot of trouble and when they become agitated or overly upset, change the subject of the conversation, the activity, or the environment. Sometimes it is better to let it go until they come around than to try to push them regardless of how patient and welcoming you want to be. Before redirecting them, however, connect with them on a feeling level and try to show them you understand their struggle.