No matter our stage in life, all of us can continue to practice more patience, communicate more effectively, and learn more about the people around us. When it comes to living with or caring for someone who has dementia, these ideas become challenging – and more important than ever. Artis Senior Living has 10 reminders for those living with a loved one who has dementia.
1. Be Realistic
Be realistic about your expectations of your loved one’s memory, and in later stages, of their ability to perform everyday tasks on their own. Instead of feeling disappointed your loved one can’t recall something, accept it as a symptom of the disease.
2. Develop a Routine
When it becomes difficult to recall a familiar face or remember something that happened just yesterday, a set routine can help provide comfort to someone with dementia. Encouraging someone with Alzheimer’s disease to wake up at the same time each day is also a good idea if they experience sleep issues or sundowning.
3. Let Things Go
Don’t press a loved one with dementia to remember something they can’t recall, and don’t expect too much of them. Instead of becoming annoyed or frustrated when your loved one remembers something differently, or can’t remember it at all, don’t argue. Try to let it go.
4. Focus on Nutrition
As dementia progresses, your loved one may forget to eat, or feel confused deciding what to eat or how to use utensils. Help them by providing limited, nutritious options. The MIND diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, promotes eating foods that help fight dementia, including brain-healthy ones like berries.
5. Remember to Still Have Fun
In the middle of caring for a loved one with the dementia, it’s easy to let the stress of it take over your life. But remind yourself each day – it’s essential to still have fun. Maybe your loved one looks forward to morning strolls, enjoys listening to music, or loves visits from a pet. Incorporate simple things into the daily routine to help both of you to have some fun.
6. Manage Medications
Medication organizers and notebooks are a caregiver’s best friend. Pick up a pill organizer at your local pharmacy to make keeping on top of daily medications for your loved one easier. Also write down your own records to track which medications your loved one is taking, when they started them, the dosage, and whether there are side effects.
7. Lean on Family Members
Don’t venture through the caregiving journey alone. Confide in family members when you’re feeling overwhelmed or reminisce with them about stories from your loved one’s past. Making it a point to share your emotions with others will help you mentally, and your loved one may enjoy recalling old memories along with you.
8. Take Care of Yourself
While caregiving may be your first priority, you can’t neglect your own health and wellbeing in the process. Feeling over-exhausted or burned out will end up hurting you and your loved one in the long run.
9. Focus On Their Independence
Although your loved one may need help with everyday tasks, don’t assume they can’t do anything. Give them limited choices when it comes to daily decisions so they still feel in control, but not overwhelmed.
10. Research Memory Care Communities
Consider researching memory care communities where your loved one would feel comfortable and supported. Artis Senior Living is your trusted partner in senior care. Call us today to learn more.