Caring for a Senior with Dementia

Loving adult daughter hugging older mother, standing behind couch at home, family enjoying tender moment together, young woman and mature mum or grandmother looking at each other, two generations

Caring for an aging loved one can be both rewarding and challenging- especially when they have dementia. When caring for someone with this diagnosis, you must be patient, understanding, and willing to adapt to their changing needs. The caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs have the experience and expertise to help guide you in this journey.

In this article, we will explore some of the things you need to know when caring for a loved one with dementia to ensure your own well-being as well as theirs.

10 Things to Know

There are so many things you need to know and understand as a caregiver. However, we’ve narrowed the list down to what we believe are the top 10 most important.

Educate Yourself

First of all, it’s important to understand the diagnosis. When you understand dementia, you can provide effective care. When your loved one is diagnosed, take the time to learn about this condition including the symptoms and progression. When you have an idea of what to expect, you can anticipate and manage the challenges more effectively.

Create a Safe Environment

Take the time to look around the home and ensure that it is dementia-friendly. This will involve removing hazards and creating a calm, familiar atmosphere. You will want to remove clutter and install handrails, as well as create labels/signs to help with orientation. 

Establish a Routine

Predictability can reduce anxiety and confusion for individuals with dementia. Therefore, it’s important to establish and stick to a routine as much as possible. Make sure to include regular meal times, activities, and rest periods.

Encourage Independence

While it’s important that you do offer assistance when needed, it’s also important to encourage your loved one to do as much as they can for themselves. This will allow them to maintain their sense of dignity and self-worth.

Communicate Effectively

When speaking with your loved one, make sure that you are using simple, clear language and speaking slowly Additionally, when waiting for a response, exercise patience and maintain eye contact. Non-verbal cues such as expressions and gestures can be used to convey messages.

Stay Flexible

As this condition progresses, it’s important to remain flexible. Something that is working today may not work tomorrow. Therefore, you must be ready to adapt and change your approach when necessary.

Take Care of Yourself

Remember that it’s impossible to effectively care for anyone if you do not take care of yourself. Taking care of a loved one with dementia can be exhausting- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Prioritize your well-being by taking breaks, seeking support from family and friends, and considering options for respite care.

Utilize Support Services

Take advantage of the support services available in Colorado Springs. You can find a variety of options including caregiver support groups, dementia education programs, and in-home senior care agencies. These resources can provide you with valuable assistance and guidance.

Focus on Quality of Life

While individuals with dementia may have some limitations, it’s important to focus on maximizing their quality of life. Engage in activities they enjoy, look back on happy memories, and create opportunities for social interaction.

Plan for the Future

As dementia progresses, it’s important to have a plan in place for future care. Explore options including professional in-home senior care, assisted living facilities, or memory care communities. Discuss the options with your loved one early so that they can have some input.

Gentle Shepherd Home Care Can Help with Dementia Care

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, these tips can help you provide compassionate, effective care. They will also help you ensure your own well-being. Keep in mind that you’re not alone in this journey. There are lots of resources and support in Colorado Springs, including the caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care.

Schedule your care needs assessment today. We can help you get the care you need.

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