We all know someone who is affected by Dementia and/or Alzheimer's. Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. It can be very difficult to redirect them, get daily things done or just deal with the loss of the memories of a life spent together. In addition, dementia can cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality or behavior. Below we provide strategies to best communicate and engage our loved ones which can significantly improve the quality of life of everyone involved!
What's the difference between dementia & Alzheimer's?
Even though, dementia is thought of as a disease, it is actually a syndrome! A syndrome is a group of symptoms or diseases that don't have a definitive diagnosis. Specifically, dementia's group of symptoms are ones that affect mental tasks like memory and reasoning. So Alzheimer’s is actually just one of those symptoms/diseases that fall under the dementia umbrella. Having a diagnosis of dementia is often related to the Alzheimer's Disease process but it doesn't have to be.
Dementia could be caused by the Parkinson's Disease process or can even result from what happens after a stroke. Even though the causes of dementia are not fully known and there are no cures, there ARE many ways to assist a person with dementia to live with dignity and a good quality of life. And if you what guidance on questions to be asking the physician or neurologist check here!
We have a ton of solutions to help people stay at home safely with dementia. But sometimes it makes more sense to move into assisted living because more help is needed than can be provided at home. If that's the case, Care Patrol can help. Check out this interview to learn a hot tip about short term assisted living stays too! Watch the Interview
4 Simple Fixes
Here are 4 simple changes that can make life as a caregiver easier.
- Struggling to get your loved one to eat enough? Use a red plate and cup which studies show increase intake amounts for those with dementia.
- Wrap grab bars or railings in brightly colored tape or high contrast material to make them stand out so the person automatically wants to grab hold.
- Worried about someone wandering outside? Try placing a black mat in front of the door which can be perceived as a hole and they may avoid stepping on it.
- Need to know when they are getting out of bed? Try a pressure mat that alarms once it is stepped on!
Communication style is key!
Communicating with a person who has dementia can be tough. Here are a few tips to help!
1. Set a positive mood; your body language and tone of voice go a long way in creating an environment where they feel safe which aids in the communication process.
2. Speak slowly and use clear simple words to allow the person to process and understand what you want them to do.
3. Not getting answers to your questions? Ask it as a yes or no questions which are much easier to process and therefore give an answer.
4. If stuck repeating a question or doing an inappropriate task, redirect by introducing a different but positive activity. Don't forget, it's SO important to connect with their feelings and acknowledge them as a human being!
Learn more about communicating with this resource or consider watching this training from the Alzheimer's Association! And if you'd like to explore more options for dealing with a change in memory use that section of our quiz by clicking here.