Dementia is a condition that affects the brain and causes a progressive loss of memory and reasoning, as well as changes in personality and behavior. Eventually, it leads to physical decline. How the disease advances varies from person to person. But regardless of its course, looking after someone with dementia at home can feel like a formidable challenge.
Fortunately, there are steps people who are caring for dementia patients in their home can take to provide a better experience for their loved one and make it easier to support and supervise them. This article provides strategies you can use in your role as a caregiver.
Dementia Caregiver At-Home Tips
People with dementia tend to become confused about where they are and what their normal routine is. Home care for the elderly with dementia should include modifying the environment and simplifying their schedule to make the person more comfortable. Here are some things you can do:
● Have familiar objects throughout the home. People with dementia may begin to see the home they’ve lived in for decades as unfamiliar. This can be very stressful for them. Photos of loved ones and favorite items can help them stay grounded and calm.
● Keep the home well lit. In addition to memory loss and cognitive challenges, people with dementia may experience delusions and hallucinations. You should keep lights on both day and night so that your loved one has visual cues they can use to orient themselves. Waking in a dark room can be confusing and frightening to a person with dementia.
● Create notes about daily tasks. Sticking to familiar routines can be reassuring to a person with dementia. Make information about regular “to do” items and activities readily available to help them focus.
● Encourage enjoyable and stimulating activities. Playing your loved one’s favorite music or joining them in an activity they enjoy can be good for them. Just be sure to discontinue the activity if it appears to be making them frustrated or agitated.
● Go on walks with them. People with dementia may feel restless, which can lead to wandering behavior. Brief trips around the neighborhood can reduce this feeling and thereby minimize wandering.
Keep in mind that, if you need it, you can find help caring for dementia patients at home. Be sure to seek assistance from a family member, friend or home care provider, if appropriate.
Caring for someone with dementia at home can be difficult. But your patience, empathy, and efforts to create a safe and comforting environment can go a long way toward making it a positive experience for you and your loved one.
Your willingness to seek additional support when needed is important as well. Visit the Baptist Health site to learn about our mental health home care services.