Caring for someone with Dementia
-A short list of Do’s and Don’ts to make your day go smoothly
Take it from me, caring for a person, or multiple people, with Dementia is not the easiest or most delightful thing. I currently fill my days doing the oh-so-important job of planning daily activities for people who suffer from all types of Dementia. As you could imagine, this task calls for an endless supply of something I like to call PATIENCE. If you are ever blessed with the opportunity to care for someone with Dementia, as it is truly a blessing, here are a few quick tips to make your day as smoothly as possible.
#1. Never ask if they remember anything!
What I mean by this is that people with Dementia don’t recall much of their life thus far. Sometimes they don’t even remember the last five minutes. By asking them if they remember something, it causes them to jog their brains trying to remember. This results in frustration and major confusion as it may never come to them. So before you begin this task, be sure delete that phrase from your own memory.
#2. Be Kind, always.
Their attitude depends on your attitude. They will indeed give you what you give them, for the most part. Sometimes, they feel as though each time they see you is the first time they’ve EVER seen you. Imagine if their “first” impression of you is a frowning face. You would probably have a hard time convincing them to participate with anything having to do with you. Now, if you’re wearing a smile and speaking positive things whenever they see you, their day and yours will be that much better. Of course, it goes beyond simply plastering a smile on your face. A detailed list of “communication do’s and don’ts” can be found here. Aside from helping your loved one, these tips can double as personal development for your own self as well.
#3. Stimulate their minds, bodies, and spirits
Try not to have them engage in mundane activities that have no effect on their personal development. Although they have dementia, they are still capable of bettering themselves day by day. After all, is that not the main goal in life? If you are honored with the task of helping someone fulfill this goal, be sure to encourage them to do things that are beneficial for their internal and external well-being. For example, I have my residents do exercise daily in order to kick start their day. I also make sure they remain active throughout the day and eat an adequate diet of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nutritious snacks in between. The Alzheimer’s association has great suggestions for activities that are beneficial for those with Dementia.
By following these few, simple tips, caring for a person with Dementia can be the most fulfilling thing you have ever done. Just knowing that you were able to make another person’s day the best it could possibly be is the best feeling in the world. Many see severe diseases like Dementia as a separation between them and “normal” people. This mindset makes it difficult for some to care for someone with Dementia. In reality, they are normal people, they are just blessed to be able to start their lives over with each rising day. In following these simple steps, you can succeed at making those days the best they’ve ever had.