A person who suffers from dementia inevitably starts forgetting things, even simple everyday things such as names, places, events and directions. As a result, it can definitely take a toll on the family or the caregiver.
Here is a list of tips that you should keep in mind to help you deal better with a dementia patient, and make the process more comfortable for the patient as well.
- Try to provide a calm and relaxed environment around the patient as much as possible, to avoid any stress or anxiety, as it can trigger behaviour issues and mood swings in the patient. Some patients feel distressed with loud colours, sounds and even some types of smells. Find these out and avoid or remove them altogether.
- Look at your loved one and take cues from body language. Understand if the patient is happy, stressed, tired, confused, angry, upset, doesn’t want to be disturbed, or doesn’t know what he or she wants. If possible, put yourself in their position and try to understand what they may be trying to express but are unable to.
- When speaking to the patient, keep your voice clear and the tone slow paced. Use short sentences so that it is easy for the person to understand you. Remember that a patient suffering from dementia will find it difficult to concentrate and focus, and will have problems in understanding language.
- Use very simple language, which will be easy for the person to understand and follow.
- If there is a mood swing, try to understand what could have caused it, so that you can avoid it in future. Think of something that may have happened right before, or something that was said, that could have triggered the reaction.
- Make signs to signal simple things such as hunger, thirst, sleepy, feeling cold, feeling hot, feeling uncomfortable, in pain and so on. This will be helpful for you to communicate when the patient forgets to use the right words or phrases.
- Find out what helps to put the patient at ease. It could be reading out loud from a favourite book, putting on a particular song or type of music, switching on the television, or anything that could help distract and make the patient feel better.
- Remember how you behaved in a particular situation with the patient and the reaction to the same. If the reaction was positive, emulate it in future, else try and find out a way that makes the patient comfortable.
- Take a break to reduce any stress that you may be experiencing, as it is natural for a caregiver or family member to feel pressure, frustration, anger, guilt and even helplessness in such a situation. Ask someone to look after the responsibilities while you take some time to cool down.
- Try to keep the patient active as much as possible. Encouraging the person to do simple activities such as walking, dancing, moving around the house, going to a nearby place or doing anything that involves being out and about.
- Let your loved one stay connected to everyday things by making him or her a part of simple routine activities. Ask them to help you in the kitchen duty by doing something as simple as shelling peas, but which can be a great way to improve and manage motor skills.
- Talk about past events as well as recent events that your loved one may start to forget, or may still remember. Talking about things will keep it fresh in their memory and prevent memory lapse.
Listen to your loved one and spend time on a caring and one-on-one basis. While a dementia patient will become more and more difficult to handle as time goes by, try to give some real time and attention.
You can take the help of a professional caregiver who can look after your loved one with all the care and attention, and provide them the dignity they deserve. Book an appointment with our trained and experienced staff now.