Common Situation #: Confusion About Place Or Time
Examples: Statements such as I want to go home!, This isnt my house., When are we leaving? Why are we here?
Explanation: Wanting to go home is one of the most common reactions for an Alzheimers or dementia patient living in a memory care facility. Remember that Alzheimers causes progressive damage to cognitive functioning, and this is what creates the confusion and memory loss.
Theres also a psychological component, says Mariotto:
Often people are trying to go back to a place where they had more control in their lives.
DO: There are a few possible ways to respond to questions that indicate your loved one is confused about where he or she is. Simple explanations along with photos and other tangible reminders can help, suggests the Alzheimers Association. Sometimes, however, it can be better to redirect the person, particularly in cases where youre in the process of moving your loved one to a facility or other location.
The better solution is to say as little as possible about the fact that they have all of their belongings packed and instead try to redirect themfind another activity, go for a walk, get a snack, etc., says Napoletan. If they ask specific questions such as When are we leaving? you might respond with, We cant leave until later because the traffic is terrible / the forecast is calling for bad weather / its too late to leave tonight.
Keep Them In A Positive Preoccupied Mindset
If they made a mistake, its best to laugh it off with the individual receiving care. The key to healthy, effective Alzheimers patient care is the approach join into their reality with a positive and gentle demeanour, and youll notice the difference! This is a great chance to encourage them to smile, laugh, and make the most of each day, and that should be all they need to worry about. Keeping them busy and entertained, such as with painting, taking a walk, or comforting music that resurrects old memories, is also a good strategy.
Dressing And Grooming Your Senior With Alzheimers
The first step in improving an Alzheimer patients routine is to establish one in the first place. In fact, this can be done right at the start of the day, when the patient is getting dressed. Dressing at the same time every morning and limiting their clothing to just a few outfits can set up a healthy pattern.
Loose-fitting clothing preferably of a soft and/or stretchy fabric will make dressing them easier for you, and wearing the clothes more comfortable for them. If you can obtain pieces that have Velcro instead of zippers, buttons, and more complicated fasteners, then all the better. With regard to shoes: comfortable slip-ons with grips on the bottom will make donning footwear less troublesome, and will also make the senior less likely to trip and fall once the shoes are on.
Be especially gentle when combing their hair and brushing their teeth. If they appear to be in distress or are struggling, its all right to take frequent breaks. Make sure to allow for enough time to complete these tasks, and note that it will probably take you longer than normal to do so.
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Do Try To Be Pleasant
Caregivers are also humans who are prone to emotions like anger, stress, impatience, and irritation. Even when one goes through caregiver burnout, it is best that the patient does not get wind of it. It is better to step out of the room and try some breathing exercises to calm down before going back to deal with the dementia patient. Where possible, shelve the bad feelings and try and deal with them later. Dementia patients deal with a lot and they do not need more on their plate if they are to lead fulfilling and happy lives.
Do Not Shy Away From Asking For Help
No one may have all the answers especially when it comes to taking care of a person with dementia. Try doing research on how their behavior changes and what needs to be done to help them live their lives without too many complications. Hire help when it becomes too much as it also ensures that you do not become too frustrated or drained. When you have multiple family members who can help, ask everyone to pitch in and look after the patient so that you can get some personal space to breathe and re-energize when it is your time to look after the patient. When you feel like you can no longer look after your loved one at your own home, it may be time to consider assisted living. In such case, look into dementia care homes that can provide specially trained professionals.
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How To Talk To Someone With Dementia Alzheimer’s Or Memory Loss
Communicating with a person with memory loss can be difficult, but the right strategies can bridge the gap and foster a more fulfilling relationship between you and your patient or loved one.
Those struggling to communicate with a person who has memory loss are not alone. As many as four million people in the US may have Alzheimer’s, and, as our population ages, that number is expected to increase. Anyone who is a senior caregiver is likely to be affected and will need to understand how to cope with what is happening.
Memory loss associated with aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s typically doesnt happen overnight. Slowly, little-by-little, it sneaks up, until one day, family members realize that they can no longer communicate in the same way with the person they’ve known for years. They suddenly can’t rely on their words and their sentences dont match the situation.
Because we cannot see the diseasethe way we see a broken armits even more confusing when caregivers see how their patient and/or loved one will have good and bad days. The days when theyre alert and clear-headed make a caregiver hopeful. Then the bad days come, and family members and caregivers feel the pain of losing their patient and/or loved one all over again. This slow and normal progression of the disease makes communication a major challenge for caregivers.
This blog will share more information and advice to improve communication, including:
Dos And Donts Of Dementia Care
Interacting with a loved one who has dementia can at times be challenging or confusing. The person you know and love may be behaving differently after a diagnosis of dementia or other forms of memory loss. While youll want to avoid conversations that might upset your loved one, its important to continue interacting with them in a way that honors who they are as a person. Read on for suggestions from Artis Senior Living on the dos and donts of dementia care.
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Make Time For Reflection
At each new stage of dementia, you have to alter your expectations about what your loved one is capable of. By accepting each new reality and taking time to reflect on these changes, you can better cope with the emotional loss and find greater satisfaction in your caregiving role.
Keep a daily journal to record and reflect on your experiences. By writing down your thoughts, you can mourn losses, celebrate successes, and challenge negative thought patterns that impact your mood and outlook.
Count your blessings. It may sound counterintuitive in the midst of such challenges, but keeping a daily gratitude list can help chase away the blues. It can also help you focus on what your loved one is still capable of, rather than the abilities theyve lost.
Value what is possible. In the middle stages of dementia, your loved one still has many abilities. Structure activities to invite their participation on whatever level is possible. By valuing what your loved one is able to give, you can find pleasure and satisfaction on even the toughest days.
Improve your emotional awareness. Remaining engaged, focused, and calm in the midst of such tremendous responsibility can challenge even the most capable caregivers. By developing your emotional awareness skills, however, you can relieve stress, experience positive emotions, and bring new peace and clarity to your caretaking role.
The Dos And Donts Of Dementia Care
Caring for patients with Alzheimers and dementia is both challenging and rewarding, but it is not as daunting as you might expect. Educating yourself about dementia and maintaining a positive and realistic attitude will help you to feel in control, even in situations that especially challenge you. Use our top ten list of dementia care dos and donts to elevate your caregiving game and improve the care you provide for your clients or loved one!
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Taking Care Of Alzheimers Patients: Dos And Donts
If you are presently taking care of an Alzheimers patient, then you are a very special person indeed. This role is often filled with challenges, numerous expenses, and hardships. Due to the nature of the illness, victims of Alzheimers can be one of the most difficult populations to work with even if they are a close loved one.
Luckily, there are numerous things you can do to make this important job a little easier, whether you are a caregiver, home health aide, friend, or family member. Read on to see how you can help your senior stay safe and comfortable throughout their daily routine.
The Alzheimers And Dementia Care Journey
Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But youre not alone. In the United States, there are more than 16 million people caring for someone with dementia, and many millions more around the world. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimers or dementia, it is often your caregiving and support that makes the biggest difference to your loved ones quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.
However, caregiving can also become all-consuming. As your loved ones cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time, its easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your own health and well-being. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and many dementia caregivers experience depression, high levels of stress, or even burnout. And nearly all Alzheimers or dementia caregivers at some time experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. Seeking help and support along the way is not a luxury its a necessity.
Just as each individual with Alzheimers disease or dementia progresses differently, so too can the caregiving experience vary widely from person to person. However, there are strategies that can aid you as a caregiver and help make your caregiving journey as rewarding as it is challenging.
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Dont Ask A Person With Short
A patient and/or loved one can construe even the simplest of conversation starters as a real question, but they honestly dont know the answer to it. This can be embarrassing and can send them back into a fogthey try their best to give an answer that makes sense to them and often produce immediate physical concerns: I’m having a lot of pain, for example. A caregiver and/or family member might ask, What did you have for breakfast? and the person with memory loss doesn’t remember at all. They might say earnestly, I haven’t had anything to eat for weeks, . So these are questions to avoid because it causes fear for the person, that they have failed. But there things you can talk about
Forget The Good Times
Its easy to feel stressed and frustrated when caring for someone with dementia. Youre tired, youre sleep deprived and you no longer have time to go out with friends.Even when youre taking care of someone, you also need to take care of yourself. Its important to take time to rest and have fun. During a stressful and emotional, painful time, being in the company of friends and having a good laugh can help. Dont forget the good times.
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Enable Independence Wherever/whenever Sensible
If a loved one can handle basic tasks such as gardening, light housekeeping, and even light cooking, let them. You can still monitor from a distance or, even better, do it with them. Being able to contribute and participating in regular activities encourages self-worth and a sense of accomplishment. Let them enjoy these moments of independence while they are still able to accomplish them on their own. Whats more, enjoy these moments with your loved one and make some more happy memories to cherish.
Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient
Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.
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Don’t Talk To Them Like They’re A Young Child Or A Baby
Imagine if someone came up to you and spoke in a sing-song voice, putting their face close to yours. What would your reaction be? Would it be to pull back from that person and withdraw, laugh at them, or simply not respond?
This type of interaction is called “elderspeak,” and it has got to go. A person with Alzheimer’s is an adult, not a child. They will appreciate being treated as such.
Don’t Use Terms Of Endearment Instead Of Names
Terms of endearment should generally be reserved for close family members and friends.
If you’re a health professional and you walk around calling others “sweetheart,””honey,” and “dear,” you’re often missing an opportunity. Use the person’s name. It’s one of the more precious things to people, and for people with Alzheimer’s, it conveys that they are important enough to be called specifically by their name.
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Dont Answer Questions Of Patient/loved Ones Regarding Bad Memories
People with Alzheimer’s often ask difficult questions, mostly about people who have passed away years ago. Its not helpful to remind the patient and/or loved one that a person theyre asking about has passed away. Rather than avoid the subject, you can say, He/shes not here right now, but tell me about him/her. Often the person with memory loss is looking for the sensation and security that they would have if their loved one was around.
Caregivers and/or family members should be helping patients and/or loved ones comfortable, safe, and protected. Elderly women, for example, who have had children commonly ask, Where are my babies? This question will often come up at meal time, when feeding the children was an important part of motherhood. Find a way to soothe their concern. You could say, The babies are sleeping.
As stated earlier, trying to bring a person with Alzheimer’s the present-day reality is not effective. Caregivers and/or family members should adapt to the patient and/or loved ones reality. Its ok to go anywhere in any time period in order to communicate.
Dental Skin And Foot Problems
Dental, skin, and foot problems may take place in early and moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease, but most often happen during late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Dental problems. As Alzheimer’s disease symptoms worsen, people will need help taking care of their teeth or dentures. Brushing and flossing help to maintain oral health and reduce bacteria in the mouth, which may decrease the risk of pneumonia.
Make sure the person’s teeth and teeth surfaces are gently brushed at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. The last brushing session should take place after the evening meal or after any medication is given at night. You may find that using a child’s size toothbrush is easier for the person.It is also best to floss once per day, if possible. If this is distressing to the person, an interdental brush, which is a small brush designed to clean between the teeth. Try to check the person’s mouth for any problems such as:
- Food “pocketed” in the cheek or on the roof of the mouth
Be sure to take the person for regular dental checkups for as long as possible. Some people need medicine to calm them before they can see the dentist. Calling the dentist beforehand to discuss potential sensitivities may also be helpful.
Skin problems. Once the person stops walking or stays in one position too long, he or she may get skin or pressure sores. To prevent them, you can:
To check for pressure sores:
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How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems
- How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts
Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.
You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.
In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.
Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.