Caring for a Loved One with Dementia
The statistics surrounding dementia are quite alarming.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. By 2025, this figure could be as high as 1 million. 225,000 people will develop dementia this year alone. That’s one person every three minutes.
With dementia impacting the lives of so many people, it’s never been more important to understand how to care for a loved on with dementia. If someone you love is suffering with dementia, here’s our advice on caring for them effectively.
1. Communicate clearly
It’s important that you remember not to get frustrated when communicating with someone with dementia. State your message clearly using simple words and short sentences. Use names of people and places your relative may recognise rather than using pronouns like “he” or “she”.
You should also ask simple, questions one at a time. Close questions work best, or those where you give fewer choices. For example; ask “would you like to wear the blue shirt?” instead of “what would you like to wear?”. Visual prompts are also an effective method of communication.
2. Consider live in care
One of the best ways you can provide dementia care for a loved one is by opting for live in care. This enables your relative to retain their independence, stay in a home they recognise and love, and keep to a normal routine. They can even stay with a spouse which will enable them to feel more safe and secure.
Not only that, but a live in carer gives you peace of mind. You can be confident your loved one is taken care of when you can’t be there. You know that everything from paying bills to walking the dog is taken care of, ensuring you get to spend quality time with your relative.
3. Respond with care
People with dementia can often feel lonely and anxious. They may get confused and muddled, which only exacerbates those feelings. When providing dementia care for a loved one, avoid trying to convince them they’re wrong as this will only make them feel worse.
Instead, focus on the things which are real – like their surroundings or feelings – and respond with comfort, support, and reassurance. Physical cues are also a great way to show empathy, like holding hands, a gentle touch on the arm and a hug.
4. Monitor their nutrition
Ensuring that your loved one is eating well can be challenging when caring for someone with dementia. A live in carer would be able to keep an eye on your loved one’s nutrition and ensure that they are not only eating when they should, but that they are eating healthy meals. Live in carers can cook hearty, home-cooked meals too, which helps your loved one feel more relaxed.
5. Seek support…for yourself
It’s important to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and getting the support you need. Whether that’s in the form of a live in carer assisting you, someone in your family helping you out, or professional support in the way of a counselor or support group. Dementia care can be lonely, stressful, and upsetting for you. It’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, so you can take care of your loved one.