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Looking After a Loved One With Dementia

Looking After 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 one with dementia. We’ve written this guide on dementia support so that if someone you love is suffering from dementia, you can care for them well. 

Here are our top 5 tips for offering dementia care and 10 tips for communicating with someone living with dementia effectively and kindly.

5 Tips for Offering Dementia Care

Follow these tips to ensure that your loved ones live the rest of their lives comfortably and with love and care.

1. Communicate clearly

It’s important that you remember not to get frustrated when communicating or offering someone with dementia help. State your message clearly using simple words and short sentences. Use names of people and places your relatives 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 relatives.

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 help to 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 counsellor or support group. Dementia care at home 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.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia and would like to understand more, take a look at FAQs about live-in carers

10 Tips for Communicating With a Loved One With Dementia

When providing dementia care for a loved one, it’s so important that you keep communicating, as they will have confusions and uncertainties. Here are our top tips for communicating with a loved one with dementia.

1. Limit distractions

Noise and distractions can make it difficult for someone with dementia to focus on a conversation. Get their full attention by turning off the TV, closing the door, or moving to a quieter location. Address them by name, identify yourself, and use non-verbal cues such as touching them on the arm to keep them focused on you and the conversation.

2. Be positive

Dementia can be extremely lonely, so set a positive mood to make your loved one feel comfortable. Your facial expressions, tone of voice, and non-verbal cues all help to show affection and create a positive, warm atmosphere. This is especially important if the person you’re talking to is getting confused and upset.

3. Keep it clear

Our next tip is to keep the conversation clear. Don’t overcomplicate things with jargon and long sentences. Speak slowly and keep your tone even and reassuring. Use names and places they recognise, and break everything down into easy-to-understand chunks.

4. Ask closed questions

Communication becomes easier when you ask simple, closed questions. Don’t give your loved one too many options and use visual prompts and clues to help guide their response. For example, don’t ask “What would you like for lunch?”; instead ask “Would you like vegetable soup or a jacket potato for your lunch?”.

5. Break things down

Dementia care can be tricky, especially when your loved one still wants to maintain some independence. To make this easier on both of you, break activities down into easy-to-follow steps. This will help your loved one feel like they’re able to do things on their own, whilst ensuring they’re safe and well.

6. Listen with your ears and eyes

Sometimes, the things your loved one doesn’t say will give away more than the things they do. Watch out for changes in their facial expression or body language to see if they’re confused and respond appropriately. Allowing them time to get their point across in their own words will mean the world to someone living with dementia.

7. Distract and redirect

Dementia sufferers can get distressed if they struggle to understand, so try changing the subject or environment. Don’t push something if you can see it’s upsetting your loved one. Connect on a personal level, acknowledge their feelings and then move on. 

8. Reassure them

Make sure you’re always reassuring the loved one you’re communicating with. Instead of telling them when they’re wrong, focus and reassure them when they are right. Smile, hold hands, praise them, and touch them on the arm to make them feel safe and secure.

9. Add humour

Humour is a great way to build a rapport with someone with dementia. It’ll help them to feel comfortable in your presence, as well as give them a feeling of independence if they can laugh along with you.

10. Reminisce

Your loved one will love to reminisce with you, providing of course you focus on memories you know they can recall. This will help to reaffirm your relationship and give you something meaningful to talk about. Ask what they thought, did and felt.

Ready to Offer Care to Dementia Patients?

Offering dementia care to a loved one is never easy, but with these tips, you’re well equipped to take care of your loved ones. If you’re considering dementia home care services, contact us today. Our personable, expert team will help you find the best option for your family member to help them feel happy, safe and secure.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia and would like to talk to us about live in care, contact us today. You can also find out more about the support we offer across the country on the pages below.

Live in care Birmingham

Live in care Leeds

Live in care Liverpool

Live in care London

Live in care Manchester

Or view all our locations here.

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