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How Do You Help A Person With Dementia

Just Do The Next Indicated Thing

How to Help Someone with Dementia Communicate

Although it sounds reasonable to us to say, Its time to get ready, its likely too vague for a cognitively impaired person. Instead, focus only on the next indicated thing that needs to happen.

I need you to put on your shoes now, is concrete and specific. Still, depending on where your parent or partner is in the disease process, you may need to back up a step and start with, I need you to sit down now, before moving on to putting on shoes.

Most care partners are anxious at the thought of making it out the door. They worry about their parent or partners reaction to finding out a doctor appointment is on deck. I suggest a simple, Lets go for a ride. What comes after that? Ill give you several ideas in the Do what works section below.

Energy is contagious, so if youre feeling anxious, it will catch. Instead, stay focused only on whatever the next indicated thing isnot the thing after the next thing. Stay present in this moment to keep your own anxiety at bay.

Tips To Improve Bath Time

Prepare First: Have the soap and shampoo ready, as well as a large, warm towel.

Offer a Choice between a Bath or a Shower: Some people might not have a strong preference, but for many, providing this choice can improve the outcome. A lot of water in a tub may cause fear for some, while the spraying of a shower can make others anxious.

Adjust the Time of Day: If you don’t know the person’s typical routine, find out from the family if he liked to start his day out with a shower or enjoyed a bath before bed. That’s an important routine for many people, so honoring that for a person with dementia can go a long way toward a good outcome for both the person and the caregiver.

Routine: As much as possible, stick to a routine, both as it relates to the time of day for a shower and the steps you use when helping the person bathe. Using a consistent caregiver to maintain this routine can also be very helpful to both the caregiver and the person with dementia.

Ensure a Warm Room Temperature: Ensure that the room is warm enough. A cold room plus water does not equal a positive experience.

Encourage Independence: If the person is able, ask them to wash themselves. Independence can restore a little bit of the dignity that’s lost when help is needed with bathing.

Offer a Caregiver of the Same Sex to Provide the Bath: If someone is embarrassed or becomes sexually inappropriate, offer a caregiver of the same sex to provide the shower.

Supporting A Person With Dementia

The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition.

There are many other factors aside from the symptoms of dementia that play a huge role in shaping someone’s experience. These include the relationships the person has, their environment and the support they receive.

Personal relationships and someone’s social environment are central to life, regardless of age or mental ability. People can recognise this by being as supportive as possible. Carers, friends and family, can help a person with dementia to feel valued and included. Support should be sensitive to the person as an individual, and focus on promoting their wellbeing and meeting their needs.

When supporting a person with dementia, it can be helpful for carers to have an understanding of the impact the condition has on that person. This includes understanding how the person might think and feel, as these things will affect how they behave.

The person may be experiencing a world that is very different to that of the people around them. It will help if the carer offers support while trying to see things from the perspective of the person with dementia, as far as possible.

Each person is unique, with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. It is very important to focus on what the person still does have, not on what they may have lost. It is also important to focus on what the person feels rather than what they remember.

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Caregiving In The Early Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

In the early stages of Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, your loved one may not need much caregiving assistance. Rather, your role initially may be to help them come to terms with their diagnosis, plan for the future, and stay as active, healthy, and engaged as possible.

Accept the diagnosis. Accepting a dementia diagnosis can be just as difficult for family members as it for the patient. Allow yourself and your loved one time to process the news, transition to the new situation, and grieve your losses. But dont let denial prevent you from seeking early intervention.

Deal with conflicting emotions. Feelings of anger, frustration, disbelief, grief, denial, and fear are common in the early stages of Alzheimers or dementiafor both the patient and you, the caregiver. Let your loved one express what theyre feeling and encourage them to continue pursuing activities that add meaning and purpose to their life. To deal with your own fears, doubts, and sadness, find others you can confide in.

Make use of available resources. There are a wealth of community and online resources to help you provide effective care on this journey. Start by finding the Alzheimers Association in your country . These organizations offer practical support, helplines, advice, and training for caregivers and their families. They can also put you in touch with local support groups.

What Can I Do To Help My Dad With Dementia Sleep Better At Night He Suffers From Sundowning And Often Won’t Sleep Until Extremely Late

What NOT to Say to Someone With Dementia

From late afternoon its important to remain calm and stick to the bedtime routine, as your dad may pick up on your stress causing him distress. Try to find a balance between your dad not being over-tired while still being tired enough for bed. This might mean experimenting with naptimes. Natural daylight is wonderful for helping to reset a disrupted body-clock, so you should consider simply sitting outdoors or next to a bright window when your dad starts to show signs of agitation or restlessness. Find more tips on how to deal with Sundowning here.

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Should You Keep Trying To Communicate

Family members may frequently ask, How often should I visit?, or, Should I visit at all, because they dont seem to be understanding what were saying, most of the time they dont seem to recognize me, etc. Caregivers can encourage family members to visit because its important to them. Also, the person with memory loss may catch some things on some days, and if family members can make the interaction a pleasant moment, it can be rewarding for both.

Communication amongst family becomes particularly difficult when the person with dementia and/or Alzheimers doesn’t recognize family members anymore. In this situation, a spouse or children can think that it doesnt do any good to go talk to the personthat anyone could talk to him/her because they dont remember who they are. But there is a richness that happens because of family history together, something that can only come from people that have been family or friends for a long time.

The type of communication families can get out of visits can be pulled from the strength of the patient and/or loved ones long-term memories. They can still talk about the past, and for family members, to hear those things are perhaps a worthwhile gift.

Even though the patient and/or loved one can no longer communicate the way they used to, there are still other ways to enjoy time together. There is beauty and simplicity in being in the present moment.

Get Your Parent/partner Ready

However long it takes you to get ready, double that number and tack on an extra 15 minutes. Throw on an extra 15 for unforeseen circumstances. Now youre in the ballpark.

Rather than being left to their own devices, most people need cueing and reminders to successfully get through the morning routine. For a detailed example sequence on how to do that, see Potty Talk: Successfully Navigating The Bathroom.

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Do Not Keep Correcting The Patient

People with dementia do not like it when someone keeps correcting them every time they say something that may not be right. It makes them feel bad about themselves and can make them drift out of the conversation. Discussions should be humorous and light and one should always speak slowly and clearly using simple and short sentences to capture and keep the interest of the dementia patients.

Use The Right Colour Patterns

How Can You Help Someone with Dementia

Contrasting colours can assist people with dementia when it comes to identifying useful things. Using too many colourful patterns in your home, on the other hand, might have the opposite effect. This can cause visual disorientation and make objects more difficult to see. Excessive visual stimulation can also cause irritation if there are too many or conflicting patterns.

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How To Deal With Manipulation

Your loved one may have lost the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehoods, and they may no longer have a sense of morality around lying. These symptoms can be especially difficult for a caregiver to handle, as it may feel like a complete change in personality. In fact, a person with dementia may not realize theyre lying.

Manipulation is often the root behavior for trust, control, and security. Sometimes, it can even be a cry for help.

  • Set limits when possible.
  • Remain aware of your personal responses. Do you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated? Acting on these emotions can bring more distress to an already stressful situation.


  • Hold dementia behaviors against your loved one.
  • Bring up events to prove or disprove statements.
  • Use accusatory language such as youre lying or youre being manipulative.
  • Engage in heated arguments.

Dealing with dementia behaviors can quickly wear out a caregiver or family member. If you care for a person with dementia and are feeling resentment, anxiety, or depression, dont hesitate to seek help. A caregiver support group, counselor, friend, or family member can offer camaraderie and advice.

Although there are no treatments to stop dementia behaviors in the elderly, there are medications, dementia therapies, and memory care communities that may help.

How To Create A Dementia

Everyday life can be challenging to manage for someone with dementia. On the other hand, simple adjustments can make living at home easier and more enjoyable for a loved one who has it. People with dementia will have difficulty remembering, thinking, understanding, and reasoning as their condition develops. This is why making daily activities simpler can help them remain as self-reliant as possiblereducing irritation, tension, and worry.

The primary goal of a dementia-friendly home is to manage dementia’s impact on a persons life by supporting their functions and abilities to carry out daily activities. In other words, the goal is to maintain the person with dementia’s quality of life as much as possible. In addition, one objective of effective dementia care is to establish an environment that balances sensory stimulation so that neither overstimulation nor monotony takes hold in a persons life.

So how can you create a dementia-friendly home for a loved one you care about? Here are some significant adjustments that you can make:

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S For Communicating With Someone With Dementia

  • Keep yourself in the persons eyeline, and try not to suddenly appear from the side or from behind
  • Speak clearly and in short sentences
  • If the person is struggling to recognise you, introduce yourself and tell them about the connection between you, for instance: Hello mum, its Julie and I have little Danny, your grandson with me.
  • Be reassuring look the person in the eye and smile
  • If a person with dementia is getting agitated, take yourself to another room for a few minutes before coming back in, calmly, and saying something like: Hello, Im back now, how lovely to see you.
  • Try not to correct the person if they get your name wrong or say something that isnt true this can lead to distress and frustration on all sides. Try to imagine how the person with dementia is feeling

Remember, not being recognised does not mean you are totally forgotten.

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.

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Repetitive Speech Or Actions

People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.

  • Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
  • Try distracting with a snack or activity.
  • Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
  • Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
  • You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
  • Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.

How To Identify That A Person Needs Help

Setting a diagnosis is the doctors task. But you may suspect that your loved one has signs of dementia if you notice that he or she:

  • often loses essential things or puts them in strange places
  • often asks questions again, forgetting the answer that was just received
  • confuses time or is lost in a familiar place
  • experiences difficulties with concentration and is mistaken in monetary calculations
  • cannot learn simple instructions for example, how to turn on the washing machine or microwave

There are other signs of dementia: for example, if a person suddenly changes in character, behavior, or has mood swings for no reason. Already in the early stages of Alzheimers, an active person may suddenly become apathetic, lose any initiative, and stop enjoying even their favorite activities.

Later, as dementia progresses, some patients become irritable, impatient, or impulsive others become restless and even aggressive. A person can have delusional thoughts . Disruption of the brain processes leads to the fact that their behavior ceases to be conscious. The patient does not recognize his relatives and gradually loses the ability to understand speech.

So, what to do with elderly parents that need help?

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Play To Their Strengths

Sometimes memory loss is so devastating that we all forget that there is a person still in there somewhere. Family members can be distraught by what’s missing and forget that there’s still a lot there within the person, and that they have strengths.

They still have long-term memory, so its up to the caregiver and/or family member to find them. It’s interesting that, medically, doctors do tests on other conditions but when it comes to memory loss, it’s often looked at like a switch: Either they got it, or they don’t. Just like everything else, there’s a progression of memory loss, and its up to the caregiver and/or family member to find out where the patient and/or loved one is, and bolster that.

Strength #1: Long-term memory & stories

Everyone has a short-term memory drawer and long-term memory drawer, and we put information in each. People with dementia and/or Alzheimers have a short-term memory drawer that has no bottom. He/she puts things in, and then they get lost. The long-term memory drawer, however, has a solid bottom. Lots of stories that are retrievable await . Encourage your patients and/or loved ones to tell you stories. You can even use photos to encourage stories. Photos are wonderful long-term memory reminders.

Strength #2: Humor & music

Strength #3: Spirituality

Why Is It Important To Keep Dementia Patients Engaged In Daily Activities

An insider’s perspective on what you can do to help a person with dementia – with Christine Bryden

A daily routine with healthy activities is important for seniors of any age and especially vital for dementia patients. As dementia worsens over time, the person will find it more difficult to focus and struggle to learn new things. Having a routine in place early on helps give them structure that they find familiar. Additional benefits of having a routine that incorporates engaging activities for a loved one with dementia include:

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Triggers For Crying And Calling Out In Dementia

A few possible reasons why your loved one is displaying this behavior include:

  • Physical causes such as pain, restlessness, hunger or a need to use the bathroom
  • External causes, including an environment that is too busy or loud, and a change in routine
  • Psychological causes such as loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, and delusions

Crying and calling out in dementia can be triggered by true distress as a result of feelings of loss and being overwhelmed. At other times, crying appears to be less of a sorrowful response and more of habitual behavior.

Crying and calling out is sometimes more common in other types of dementia including vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia. These behaviors may also increase later in the day due to sundowning, a condition common in dementia where behaviors and emotions escalate toward the evening.

Sometimes, a person with dementia may have a period of time when shes screaming out loud but cant tell you why. She may be feeling anxious or fearful, or be experiencing hallucinations or paranoia.

Finally, pseudobulbar affect can trigger excessive crying, as well as inappropriate laughter.Those with PBA might begin to cry and not know why theyre doing so.


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