Dementia places a challenging burden on those coping with memory loss and cognitive decline as well as those who love them. Learning how to care for seniors with dementia is a process. As you adjust to a new sense of normal, the Careage community is here to support you. These tools will help you and your loved one navigate dementia with grace and empathy.
Stick to a Routine
Routine can be very helpful for those living with dementia. Consistent mealtimes, visiting days and times, and a predictable daily schedule will help promote a sense of security and accomplishment for those living with dementia. Of course, as your loved one's condition progresses, you may need to modify or adjust your schedule to suit their evolving needs.
Focus On the Present While Honoring the Past
Asking a loved one with dementia if they remember certain details or events can be distressing. Instead, try honoring their past by doing activities and hobbies with them that they used to enjoy. Doing things like playing music they enjoy, attending a favorite sporting event, or keeping holiday traditions can promote healthy cognitive stimulation and bring back joyful feelings without the stress of trying to remember specific times. You may not be able to share the same recollection as your loved one, but you can continue to share the joy of your connection.
Coping with tasks that were once ordinary is among the hardest adjustments for dementia patients. Consider creative ways to help your loved one maintain independence for as long as possible. This might include making a to-do list, updating a whiteboard calendar, and helping your loved one to set medication alarms. Loose-fitting clothes without buttons are a good suggestion for making daily routines a little easier. Allow your loved one to do as much as they are able to unassisted. This is a great way to honor their autonomy and dignity while supporting a loved one with dementia.
Embrace Validation & Affirmation
Validation therapy involves acknowledging and affirming the emotions and experiences of those with dementia, even if they differ from reality. Instead of correcting or contradicting their beliefs, validate their feelings and experiences. For instance, if your loved one believes they're in a different time period, join them in that moment by engaging in conversation about their perceived reality. This approach fosters a sense of respect and understanding, reducing potential frustration or confusion that comes with trying to orient them to the present reality.
Foster Social Connections
Maintaining social connections is crucial for seniors with dementia. Encourage interactions with friends, family, and others in the community to combat feelings of isolation. Organize regular visits or video calls with loved ones. Additionally, consider enrolling them in dementia-friendly social groups or activities where they can engage with others facing similar challenges. These connections can provide a sense of belonging and comfort, reducing the feelings of loneliness often associated with dementia.
Coping with dementia can be a big adjustment for families. Our community is committed to helping residents navigate memory care with compassionate support. Contact us today to learn more about our services.