Get Rid Of Distractions
Along with dementia comes a struggle to maintain focus amidst environmental distractions.
In fact, it might be impossible for your mom or dad to focus 100% when youre talking to them.
Thats why you want to make sure to get rid of all types of audio and visual distractions if an important conversation needs to be had with your elderly loved one.
That can be anything, from turning off the television or radio to going to a private room where there are fewer people.
Give them the chance to focus on you and exactly what youre saying if its really important.
But remember that theres only so much you can do to draw your parents attention and focus.
Also keep in mind that they will have good days and bad days, so dont assume that turning off the television is all your loved one needs to focus on what youre saying.
Leave conversations for a new day if they can wait.
Planning For The Future: Tips For Caregivers
Making health care decisions for someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. Thats why it is important to plan health care directives in advance. To help plan for the future, you can:
- Start discussions early with your loved one so they can be involved in the decision-making process.
- Get permission in advance to talk to the doctor or lawyer of the person youre caring for, as needed. There may be questions about care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without consent, you may not be able to get needed information.
- Consider legal and financial matters, options for in-home care, long-term care, and funeral and burial arrangements.
Learning about your loved ones disease will help you know what to expect as the dementia progresses and what you can do.
Respite Care Caregiver Health And Behavioral Changes
Caring for the caregiver is essential, especially when difficult behaviors present. Taking breaks makes it easier to cope with difficult behaviors. It also provides family caregivers with emotional strength to continue providing care. This is the reason why respite care is so valuable.
Monica Moore, MSG, Community Health Manager for the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimers Disease Research at UCLA explains this best.
Monica states, The Family Caregiver Alliance has found that 50% of caregivers die before the person they are caring for. This dramatic number is due to the fact that so many caregivers ignore their own physical and emotional needs while they are entrenched in caregiving. Finding time and resources to provide respite to caregivers is essential. Hiring in home help is not always for the person with dementia, but it is for the caregiver. It provides a chance for a caregiver to focus on something other than the person they are caring for, a chance to take a walk, take a bath, or just breathe.
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When In Doubt Remember The 10 Principles Of Communication From Naomi Feils Validation Therapy
Validation Therapy by Naomi Feil was created between the 1960s and 1980s as a set of guidelines for communicating with older adults.
Feil grew frustrated by the focus on reminding people with dementia of everyday reality, rather than working with the person with dementias new reality.
Her answer to this communication issue?
As Feil states, validation doesnt cure but it restores their dignity and their feelings of self-worth. Its a way of being with them, of stepping into their world, feeling what they feel.
She found that the more those in later stages of Alzheimers were forced to face reality in the wrong situations, the more they withdrew or became distressed.
To improve this area of dementia care and communication in what she calls old-old age , she came up with 10 principles that can be helpful to refer to as guidelines:
- There is a reason behind the behavior of disoriented old-old people.
- All people are unique and must be treated as individuals.
- Painful feelings that are expressed, acknowledged, and validated by a trusted listener will diminish. Painful feelings that are ignored or suppressed will gain strength.
- Behavior in old-old age is not merely a function of anatomic changes in the brain but reflects a combination of physical, social, and psychological changes that take place over the lifespan.
- All people are valuable, no matter how disoriented they are.
- Old-old people must be accepted non judgmentally.
Alzheimers And Diet: Does It Make A Difference
Alzheimers Disease has been linked to many lifestyle factors, and diet is one that many researchers believe could make a difference. A healthy lifestyle is thought to help to lower a persons risk of developing dementia, and current recommendations include exercising regularly, eating healthily and not smoking. Experts also say that maintaining a healthy weight, drinking only in moderation and ensuring your blood pressure stays in a healthy range are also important.
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Understand That Aging Is Scary
Many times the usual reaction is to suggest that someone in decline should go to an assisted living facility or seek home services. Seniors who have dementia are sometimes aware of their slump and maybe afraid. They may show anger as a response to this change in their life. Even though they may be mindful of the difference, they may not understand it. Their children may have a hard time empathizing with the situation.
Function loss is challenging to handle. Its best to provide gentle reassurances to reduce fears. Calm environments will keep them less frustrated and may fight feelings of helplessness and anger. Its not uncommon for your loved one to refuse care in the beginning.
Make them feel like a whole person with value. Empathy, respect, and validation go a long way to providing comfort and care for your loved one during this time.
Accepting aging is the most difficult thing anyone can do. Coupled with diminishing capacities loss of independence is a painful thing to manage. Understanding how they feel will make conversations about care in the future much easier to handle.
Compassion and facts are crucial to talk about assisted living and home care options. Pictures of possible homes and caregivers can bring peace of mind and make the process much more comfortable for all those involved.
Where Does Your Loved One Live
Mom is in middle stages of dementia, with a bunch of memory loss, but still able to do limited activities.
Some of these will be good for loved ones being cared for at home like Mom is, some will work for a dementia patient staying at assisted living or even in memory care.
The key is to find at least a few meaningful activities that YOUR loved one Alzheimer’s disease or dementia likes doing!
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Use A Calm And Gentle Voice
Focus on keeping a calm and gentle voice whenever youre speaking to your loved one with dementia. Avoid raising your voice, no matter how angry or frustrated either of you becomes during a conversation.
As much as you dont want to talk down to your parent, you will need to change how you speak to them and your tone of voice. After all, the way you talk to somebody is just as important as what youre saying to them.
Keep in mind that they have memory problems they most likely will not remember your conversation, so dont expect them to.
You might also want to take a little time to yourself to cool off when you sense that youre getting frustrated. Dont be shy about seeking out support groups or respite care. It helps no one if you are burned out.
Most importantly, remember that this is out of your control. No amount of anger or reminding your parent of a fact will help the situation.
Tips For Caregivers And Families Of People With Dementia
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A caregiver, sometimes referred to as a caretaker, refers to anyone who provides care for another person. Millions of people living in the United States take care of a friend or family member with Alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the person or nearby, other times they live far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia isnt just one persons job, but the role of many people who share tasks and responsibilities. No matter what kind of caregiver you are, taking care of another person can be overwhelming at times. These tips and suggestions may help with everyday care and tasks.
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How Do You Calm Someone With Dementia
Caring for our elderly parents is not easy, especially if they get stubborn as they age and have signs of dementia in the later stages. They usually resist care and dig in their heels which are among the most common reasons why adult children look for outside help from caregivers or nursing homes.If you are having difficulties taking care of and dealing with a senior parent with dementia, you are not alone! We understand the struggles and challenges when it comes to convincing them to bathe, feeding them or getting them to the doctor, or simply communicating with them. The list practically goes on and on.
Thats why weve created this list of tips and best practices from caregivers, medical doctors, dementia experts, and other professionals, to help families of people with dementia. We hope this guide will help you learn how to foster connections with your loved one or parent suffering from dementia with empathy and care.
What To Do If Your Parent With Dementia Is Resistant To Care
If your parent with dementia is refusing help, you may be unsure of what to do next. A parent with dementia resisting care might be one of the most challenging problems to deal with. They may think that they are fine, when in fact they are not functioning independently or safely without help.
In many cases, someone with dementia will flat out reject care and even refuse to let a caregiver in the home. If you are the primary caregiver, the same might occur. That said, there are ways to help convince your parent with dementia to accept the care they need.
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How To Handle Aggressive Or Combative Behavior
A lot of times, aggression is coming from pure fear, says Tresa Mariotto, a social services supervisor in Bellingham, Washington, and certified trainer in dementia and mental health. People with dementia are more likely to hit, kick, or bite in response to feeling helpless or afraid. Managing aggression can be stressful for both you and your loved one.
- Try to identify the behaviors cause.
- Keep your tone light and supportive.
- Redirect your loved one by involving them in another activity or conversation.
- Remove your loved one from surroundings or environments that may be overstimulating during an outburst.
This is where truly knowing your loved one is so important, says Ann Napoletan, writer at the blog The Long and Winding Road: An Alzheimers Journey and Beyond. In my moms case, she didnt like to be fussed over. If she was upset, oftentimes, trying to talk to her and calm her down only served to agitate her more. Likewise, touching her even to try and hold her hand or gently rub her arm or leg might result in her taking a swing. The best course of action, in that case, was to walk away and let her have the space she needed.
Natural reactions to dementia behaviors can be ineffective or make the situation worse.
What To Do If Your Parent Is In Denial About Their Dementia Symptoms
The challenging part in handling the denial of symptoms is that it can be a nonstop problem requiring lots of energy. Many people with dementia have significant memory loss, which means that you will need to repeat your approach. In the end, remember that the goal is to keep your parent calm, safe, and as happy as possible.
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Pay Attention To Your Loved Ones Changing Physical Needs
When caring for people with dementia, most of the attention goes toward a loved ones changing mental state, especially memory problems. But dementia patients also have changing physical needs that sometimes get missed or mistaken for behavioral problems from dementia.
Keep an eye out for changes in:
- The ability to dress oneself. This means caregivers should purchase clothes that are easy to wear, and that wont cause skin irritation.
- The ability to communicate or even speak Remaining flexible and finding different ways to communicate can make a world of difference.
- Eating and swallowing. Pureed foods can be a blessing should this occur.
Do Invest In Your Own Recovery
Self-care is just as important as supporting a loved ones recovery. Participate in activities that bring you joy and spend time with positive influences. Participating in family recovery services and workshops will help you experience your own parallel healing process. You can also attend family support groups like Nar-Anon, where you will meet other parents who are coping with their childrens addictions and learn strategies for healing along with your loved one.
Addiction does not discriminate based on age, and many individuals develop substance use disorders later in life. Luckily, even if your son or daughter falls into this category, they still have time to turn their life around. As much as you may want to shield your child from their inner demons, they need to make their own informed decisions. Nevertheless, as someone who has known and cared for them their entire lives, you can play a valuable role in encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.
The first step is to know that your questions and feelings are normal. The next step is to talk to someone about those feelings.
Click below to start your recovery journey today!
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The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care
Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.
As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.
For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.
Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.
Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.
Caring For A Parent With Dementia Is More Common Than You Think
Finding out that your parent is struggling with dementia or Alzheimers can feel extremely isolating. However, it is important to understand that you are not alone. According to WebMD, around 10 million Americans have chosen to take care of a parent with dementia. Like you, many of them are trying to balance all aspects of their lives while still giving their loved one the care that he or she needs.
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Coping With Changes In Behavior And Personality
As well as changes in communication during the middle stages of dementia, troubling behavior and personality changes can also occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.
Often, these behavioral issues are triggered or exacerbated by your loved ones inability to deal with stress, their frustrated attempts to communicate, or their environment. By making some simple changes, you can help ease your loved ones stress and improve their well-being, along with your own caregiving experience.
Enlist The Help Of A Physician
You cant totally hide a dementia diagnosis from your parent or encourage their denial. A process of acceptance requires respect, empowerment, and support.
Physicians who work with people who have dementia are accustomed to having these conversations. Their authority can be a big help, particularly if your parent needs to start a new treatment or agree to caregiving.
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Ask Questions In Different Ways
When asking questions to understand your parents refusal of help, you may find yourself asking the same questions over and over. Instead, try leaving questions open-ended so that your parent feels like they have more than a yes or no answer. For example, lets say your loved one keeps complaining about a caregiver. Instead of asking if they want to change caregivers, you should ask what they would prefer that the caregiver did.
Dementia And Alcoholism Dont Mix Well
When someone with a history of alcohol abuse develops Alzheimers or dementia , it can become a very challenging situation for families to manage.
Alcoholism plus dementia causes faster decline in skills needed to function independently, worsens behavioral problems, and raises safety concerns for the person with dementia and the people caring for them.
Alcohol and medication are also a dangerous combination.
Someone who is drinking is at higher risk for serious drug interactions that could cause falls, increased confusion, internal bleeding, heart problems, and more.
What makes managing alcoholism especially tough is that the person with dementia often wont remember how much they drank, will resist attempts to reduce their drinking, and will neglect their nutrition, water intake, and hygiene.
Realistically, the overuse of alcohol has most likely been going on for a long time and will probably be a difficult behavior to change completely or quickly.
To reduce challenging symptoms and behaviors as well as make sure the situation is safe, weve got 6 tips for coping with dementia and alcohol abuse.
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