28 Oct 2021

The Dos and Don’ts in Caring for a Family Member with Dementia

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The Dos and Don'ts in Caring for a Family Member with DementiaIf you have a loved one who’s suffering from dementia, caring for them can be an extremely challenging and emotional experience. As behavioural and cognitive changes occur, they can become unpredictable and distraught, making it even more difficult to provide them with the assistance they need. However, one of the best ways to support them is to learn about the dos and don’ts in caring for a family member with dementia. 

The more you understand what they are going through, the more you can adapt and learn how to make them feel comfortable and safe so they can have a better quality of life. This may be the case even as the disease progresses. Consider the following practical tips when caring for your loved one.

Do:

Create a Familiar Routine

The idea of change can heighten stressful emotions when someone is suffering from dementia, which is why a familiar routine is essential. By creating scheduled daily tasks, your loved one can be better prepared for them, which will reduce anxiety, confusion and stress. Although some flexibility will always be necessary when dealing with an unpredictable illness such as this, try to keep their tasks consistent including meals, medication time, bathing, outdoor time, and so on.

Ensure a Calm and Comfortable Environment for Them

Living in an environment that is chaotic, messy, and/or noisy can be overwhelming for anyone. But for someone with dementia, it can trigger confusion, frustration, and even anger. Consider removing anything that could be contributing to a chaotic or noisy environment, whether that means switching off sources of noise or tidying up their living space. Even clutter and materials with patterns can be off-putting. The goal is to create a space that is calming and comfortable.

Support Them

While your loved one is willing and able, support and encourage them to keep participating in things they enjoy. Even minor household activities like folding laundry, basic yard work, or helping to set the table can help them feel good about themselves.

Don’t: 

Don’t Talk Down to Them

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be very taxing on any family caregiver, but it’s important to remember that it’s a difficult and scary time for them. As the disease progresses, they will gradually lose sight of their own identity, piece by piece. Remember this whenever you’re frustrated so you can empathize and be patient and kind instead of talking down to them.

Don’t Scold Them

There will be times when your loved one does something they were not supposed to do. But remember, this is not intentional. Never scold or speak to them in anger when something goes wrong. They won’t necessarily have control over their actions.

Don’t Talk About Them as if They are Not There

Talking about someone as if they aren’t there is hurtful and can make your loved one feel small and insignificant. Never treat them like they’re a child or incapable of understanding what is going on around them. Be respectful and treat them as you would want to be treated.

C-Care Health Services has been delivering in-home caregiving and dementia nursing services in the Toronto area for more than a decade. Our professional and dedicated team understands the importance of providing reliable, quality assistance to your loved ones. We offer affordable, hourly rates to make it easy to find the flexible service you need for their unique needs, and we can customize a care plan to suit your budget. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help you and your loved one.

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