Taking care of someone who is suffering from dementia is a big task. Not only are you supposed to put yourself in the shoes of someone with a condition you can’t relate to, but it is also very time-consuming. But if our loved ones are suffering from dementia, we have to make extra strides to make sure that they are safe and well taken care of. So here are some of the do’s and don’ts of taking care of someone with dementia.
DO: Place reminders
One of the most common symptoms of dementia is forgetfulness. They can easily forget to do parts of their daily routine or specific tasks that were set up for that day in particular. This can be dangerous, as forgetting to take their medication or skipping parts of their hygiene routine can lead to complications. Make sure that the reminders you set are clearly visible and obvious, but don’t make it seem as if they were for a child. Remember that just telling them “Remember to take your meds!” as you walk out of the house isn’t enough. Set an alarm on their phone and put their pills in clearly labeled containers so that you can see if they missed to take them.
DON’T: Get frustrated
Some aspects of dementia are just so frustrating that it can lead people to have serious mood swings. Most commonly, this is the inability to communicate. People suffering from dementia often can’t connect the words they know to their meanings, or they have trouble finding the words to express themselves. This can often lead to conflict and is certainly a point of tension. You must have patience and help them express themselves. If you also start to get angry and frustrated, it won’t lead anywhere, so remain calm and try to have a normal conversation.
DO: Place them in a care home
It’s a complete myth that you only place a loved one in a care home if you don’t care about them or if you want to “get rid of them.” The simple fact is that we all have busy lives, and sometimes we can’t afford the luxury of time to give our loved ones the quality care that they deserve. This is why homes for dementia care exist and why we should never create a stereotype around them. These complexes are evolved and offer normal living conditions and a community, while also providing people with tailored care from trained professionals. If you see that you don’t have enough time and energy to devote to taking care of your loved one at home, then it is a better option for both of you to find a good home for them.
DON’T: Be misinformed
We spend way too much of our lives being misinformed about the old around us, and when we have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, the first mistake we can make is not educating ourselves enough. The first thing you should know is that dementia isn’t a disease itself, but rather, an umbrella term for a group of symptoms. This means that it can vary from case to case and you should talk to your doctor to know exactly what issues your loved one is dealing with and how you can best help them. Don’t believe the things you read online and always double-check any facts you hear from people who aren’t medical professionals.
At the end of the day, we can all live happily and quality lives no matter the condition, so if you are taking care of a loved one with dementia, you should do your best to make them feel like they aren’t just surviving but still living their life to the fullest.