If only there was a handbook for Alzheimer’s caregivers, rather than the trial-and-error-and-trial-again method so many of us are faced with. The different stages of dementia that have to be worked through make providing care all the more challenging; the moment we start to feel relatively skilled at handling one phase, we’re on to the next.Dementia care Atlanta providers Atlanta Home Care Partners, recognize firsthand how challenging dementia care can be, and provide the following strategies to keep in mind that may help:
- Admit to yourself that you are only human. Being human means being imperfect. Keep your expectations of yourself within reason, understanding that there will be times when you have sufficient patience and discernment, and times you wish you could do over. Be sure to remind yourself that you are doing your best; and make sure you are also caring for yourself.
- Redirecting works better than correcting. When someone with dementia is confused, using common sense to attempt to reorient the person can lead to stress for both of you. For instance, if the individual is trying to find a childhood friend, rather than explaining that this buddy passed away many years ago, ask the person to tell you a little more about the friend or to describe a fun experience they shared.
- It is ok to accept alternate realities. We place a high value on truthfulness in our society, and being dishonest with a senior loved one makes us feel uncomfortable. However, if the person truly believes he’s the author of the novel you’re reading, it’s often a good idea to just play along and maintain the peace.
- Be realistic in both what the person can and cannot do. While our temptation may be to take charge and take over everything for an individual with dementia, it’s much better to stop and see what he or she is still able to do independently. Likewise, if the senior begins to experience irritation over a task, it’s time to step in and assist.
- Doctors can learn something new, too. Be sure to discuss everything you’re seeing in your loved one with the physician during medical appointments. He or she can only give you the best plan of action when all of the details are on the table.
Most importantly, it’s necessary for family members providing dementia care to create a good system of support. Atlanta Home Care Partners is available to partner with you in providing specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s care; contact us for more details.