6 Essential Tips for New Dementia Caregivers

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While taking on the responsibility of being a caregiver for a family member can be a rewarding experience, the task also presents several challenges. This is especially true if the senior is living with dementia. By gaining knowledge about the diagnosis and behaviors in advance, new caregivers can become better equipped to handle the demands. 

1. Ask Simple Questions 

An older adult living with dementia cannot easily receive or process information compared to someone who is not afflicted. Your loved one may become agitated and confused when confronted with a barrage of stimulus. When asking questions, use visual cues, and pose questions that can be answered with a basic yes or no response. 

If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Des Moines Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

2. Stay Positive

Although seniors with dementia become limited in their ability to effectively communicate, they can be affected by the attitude and body language a caregiver displays. Stay respectful and continue to exercise compassion regardless of your loved one’s behavior. Remind yourself that the disease process affecting your loved one is the reason for his or her confusion and odd behaviors. If at any time you become angry, hurt, or frustrated, walk away from the situation for a few minutes until calm and composed. 

3. Go Down Memory Lane

Although your loved one may not remember a meal he or she had two hours ago, he or she likely retains certain memories from the past. Play music your loved one once enjoyed. Look at photo albums together and encourage your loved one to tell you his or her life story. Reminiscing has a calming effect and provides the chance to have a meaningful conversation and spend quality time together. 

4. Simplify Tasks

Some seniors with dementia may become confused and irritated when participating in certain activities. Behavioral issues might arise when your loved one is in the company of crowds or in a strange environment. He or she may also become upset when unable to accomplish tasks. Be patient and break down an activity step by step, and offer assistance when doing the steps he or she tends to forget. 

Hiring a professional in-home caregiver is one of the best ways to simplify caregiving duties. In Des Moines, Iowa, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

5. Express Reassurance and Understanding

When your loved one has a lapse in memory and becomes agitated, resist the urge to be impatient. Recognize the problem for what it is and offer compassion and reassurance. By expressing love and understanding in the situation, your loved one is less likely to become angry, agitated, or more confused. 

6. Accept Assistance

You may find it increasingly difficult to care for your loved one full time. Forcing yourself to continue the task alone may eventually lead to negative thoughts, feelings, and burnout. Get help from other family members or friends or consider respite care so you can take time for yourself. This way, you are assured that your loved one receives the high-quality care you desire.

Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Des Moines families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. Call Home Care Assistance at (515) 264-2438 and hire a dedicated caregiver for your aging loved one without signing a long-term contract.