Caring for a parent with dementia can feel as frustrating as trying to wrap your mind around quantum physics. It involves attempting to make sense of what appears nonsensical, and responding in ways that seem illogical to everything you’ve thought until now. Yet with some basic strategies in your Alzheimer’s care toolbox, you can feel more self-assured and effective in your role, and help the individual you love feel content, understood, and accepted.
How Can I Provide Better Alzheimer’s Care?
Focusing on these strategies from our experienced Johnston home health care providers is an excellent starting place to get over some of the typical obstacles to providing the best dementia care.
- Accept your flaws. First and most importantly, give yourself the grace to be human. There will be plenty of times you wish you had handled an issue in another way, and that is okay. Try not to blame yourself, and learn from the experience.
- Let go of reason. With dementia, typical logic and reasoning are frequently entirely ineffective. Instead of engaging in a debate over something you don’t agree on, such as the need to go to a doctor’s appointment, pivot to using short, simple, and straightforward statements, such as: “Let’s take a nice drive.”
- Sometimes, a little white lie is best. With dementia, honesty is not always the best policy. It may result in agitation, confusion, and a meltdown. If the individual believes they are an employee of the doctor’s office, join into this alternate reality, possibly by giving the person a briefcase and some “paperwork” to take to their next visit.
- Allow extra time and space for self-sufficiency. You may find it much easier to take charge of all of the daily responsibilities the older adult can no longer do easily or quickly. Unfortunately, in attempting to decrease the person’s frustration, you can be hampering their sense of self-esteem. If dressing alone takes twice as long, plan for that additional time so neither of you feels rushed.
- Make questions simpler. It may seem totally reasonable to ask the older adult what she would like for breakfast, or what she would like to do that afternoon. However, if the person is unable to articulate her answer, it could lead to frustration that can rapidly intensify. A yes or no question may be more effective: “Do you want oatmeal for breakfast?” Or, simply say to the individual: “Let’s visit the park after lunch!”
- Remind yourself that it is ok to ask for assistance. Caring for a parent with dementia is not a responsibility you can manage alone. Dementia care, especially as the disease progresses, is a 24/7 endeavor, and trying to do it all by yourself is a guaranteed way to experience burnout. When someone offers a helping hand, accept it, and give them specific responsibilities you could use assistance with. If no one offers, don’t hesitate to ask.
Can In-Home Care Help Someone With Dementia?
Absolutely! One of the best ways to ensure the best care for a person you love with dementia is by partnering with a dementia care expert. At At-Home Care Company, a trusted provider of Johnston home health care, our caregivers are fully experienced and trained in creative, effective approaches to dementia care, and we are here for you with as much or as little support as you need. Call us at 515-292-2650 and let us know exactly how we can help. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.