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4 Tips on Caring for a Relative with Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia is an act of love. Often, carers are not sure what they should be doing to help. We provide you with four tips to help you to take care of your relative.

Photo by Jake Thacker from Unsplash.com

Caring for a loved one with dementia is an act of love. Often, carers are not sure what they should be doing to help. We provide you with four tips to help you to take care of your relative.

Early Ways to Assist

In the early stages of the condition, certain things are helpful to the person with dementia. As the disease progresses, this may not be enough. Here is what you can do as a starting point:

Plan a routine and stick to it. Include meals, settings, orders of routines, bathing and getting dressed, and activities. Choose pastimes that the person enjoys. Meals must be nutritious, and you should allow enough time for the person to eat as much as they want to.

Assist your relative with recording events in a diary or on a calendar. As a grocery or toiletries get finished, set up the habit of adding them to a shopping list. Set alarms for taking prescribed medicine.

When it comes to personal hygiene, be respectful of privacy and allow the person to do the bathing bits that they are capable of. Always tell them what you are going to do before doing it. A strong, steady shower chair will allow the person to sit down and will reduce the risk of falling.

Shop smartly for clothes. They need to be comfortable, loose, and easy to use. Avoid buckles, buttons, bows, or shoelaces, and opt instead for fabric fasteners and elasticized waistbands.

Communicating with a Relative who has Dementia

Your loved one may have increased trouble communicating effectively as dementia progresses. This can cause fear and anger and elicit emotional, charged responses from the person.  Sometimes it is difficult for the person to remember words or even certain memories. This can be frustrating for both you and your relative. It is important to remain calm and not express your frustration.

When your relative has trouble communicating, you should demonstrate patience and speak clearly, without shouting. Listen to the person and empathize with what they are experiencing. Be reassuring.

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Give your relative space to be themselves and keep out of their personal space. Let them keep photos of their loved ones and friends, as well as other keepsakes, in the areas they frequent, so that these can be enjoyed. Help the person to retain their independence for as long as possible but remain supportive when they struggle.

Home Safety

Check the whole home for obstacles and make sure there is no wiring that could cause the person to trip. Add safety features, such as handrails and non-slip mats. Place safety plugs in open outlets and use safety latches on doors leading outside. Use good lighting. Lock chemicals away.

Preparing for the Future

Understanding that the condition is progressive, you should start discussions about the future as soon as possible. Respect the person’s wishes. Determine what options are available for senior living choices in Scottsdale and which ones your relative is happy with. Agree on what is the best time to take over communicating with doctors, dealing with legal matters, and when to get consent for these things. Let your loved one direct you on preferences for funeral arrangements and handling of their remains.

Allow the person concerned to have their choices respected and to remain as independent as they can.

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Your "not that regular" all-around gal, writing about anything, thus everything. "There's always more to discover... thus write about," she says in between - GASP! - puffs. And so that's what she does, exactly. Write, of course; not (just) puff.

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