Serving as caregiver for an older adult with dementia includes many benefits – the experience of contentment and fulfillment in knowing you are making the individual’s life as secure and comfortable as possible, the pleasure of seeing his or her happiness at a well-liked activity, the warmth of reminiscing together. And yet, it’s also one of the most complex responsibilities any of us can manage.
The Kansas City senior care team at Enhanced Home Care works with families in sharing education and hands-on, specialized help and support with dementia care, and recommends the strategies below to deal with some of the more challenging facets of caring for a senior with dementia:
Wandering can occur for a wide range of reasons: feelings of boredom, anxiety, pain, depression, confusion, the need to use the restroom, and others. Attempting to discern the root cause for your senior loved one’s wandering is important. For example, a bored senior with dementia could be redirected to a favorite activity or reminiscing over photo albums. If pain is suspected, be sure to check in with the senior’s physician for assistance. Keep doors locked to ensure the senior does not wander away from home, and always make sure he/she is wearing some kind of identification at all times just in case a wandering episode should arise.
Sleep pattern changes and disruptions are typical in dementia, and can contribute to fatigue for family caregivers. It’s helpful to try to limit daytime sleeping and create a comfortable, sleep-inducing setting during the night: keep lights low, play comforting music, and abstain from serving the senior any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. If, in spite of these efforts, the senior continues to remain awake and agitated throughout the night, enlisting the assistance of a professional caregiver, such as those provided by Enhanced Home Care, can ensure the person remains safe overnight and a chance for family members to get much-needed sleep.
Tension can swiftly escalate to agitation and even aggression for seniors with dementia. Seniors may also be picking up on your own stress, which can create further distress for them. It’s important to remain calm, even in the face of aggression and agitation, and to realize which activities are most calming for your loved one and have them readily available to diffuse difficult situations. This could be a tactical activity, favorite music, a walk outside, listening to a story read out loud – it may take some trial and error to discover what works best.
Enhanced Home Care’s Kansas City senior care professionals are trained and experienced in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and would love to partner with you in providing the highest possible quality of care for your senior loved one. Call us at 913-327-0000 to schedule a free in-home assessment or to get answers to any of your dementia care questions.