Caring for a person with Dementia can be a very challenging job. But Dementia care can be made easier for both the caregiver and the person being cared for with a better understanding of the condition. Being able to understand the feelings of confusion, agitation and anxiety experienced by a person diagnosed with Dementia can help your loved one to live a better life.
Here are a few tips on how to provide a calming environment for your loved one with Dementia.
Activity and Exercise
Including different activities and exercise in everyday life is essential for everyone’s physical and mental health. Persons with Dementia will likely be less agitated if they are involved in activities that they find interesting. It is also widely believed that regular exercise can delay the development of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and even help prevent it.
Nutrition and Meal Time
Dementia may have the ability to affect a person’s sense of taste and smell. It could also stop a person from feeling hungry or full. Eating may not be as enjoyable as it once was for people dealing with Dementia. As a result, people suffer from Dementia are at greater risk for malnutrition and dehydration, which in turn may make the person more confused.
To promote a healthy schedule of eating, you should try to serve meals in a quiet place that is free of any distractions. It may be helpful to have your loved one face a wall while they are eating, so they do not get distracted. You should also attempt to keep the room temperature at a comfortable level because people with Dementia tend to be more sensitive in rooms that are too cold or hot.
Wandering and pacing are also a very common behavior for persons with dementia, even at meal time. For those who can sit at the table for only a short time, calorie-dense foods such as peanut butter or dried fruit may be the answer. High protein drinks and food bars are other alternatives. Whichever way you find to be best for you, it is very important to keep your loved one nourished and hydrated.
Dealing with Agitation
Arguing with an agitated person with Dementia is counterproductive. Make sure to be calm and reassure your loved one that you are there to help them. When they become agitated, distract him or her with a pleasing activity, such as listening to music or looking at old photos.
Helping with Personal Care
When providing dementia care, encourage your loved one to do as much personal care for him or herself as possible, with your help and guidance. Be prepared to provide reminders of what comes next. It may be helpful to pass the soap or a towel at appropriate times.
Making Set Plans
When planning activities for a person with dementia, you should plan to continually explore, experiment and adjust. You must be prepared to make changes on a regular basis because what works today may not be the best option for tomorrow.
As the Dementia progresses, the interests and abilities of your senior will change. Some activities that were previously enjoyable could become a source of frustration for them now – you should be prepared to modify and adapt your routine and planned activities to accommodate to these changes.
You should write down a plan and break it into manageable sections like morning, afternoon and evening. As you go along, check off items as they are completed to help stay organized.
A person with Dementia will eventually need a caregiver’s assistance for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) and organizing the day. Structured, pleasant and familiar activities go a long way towards reducing agitation and improving mood. If you need help getting started writing your own plan of care the Alzheimer’s Association or your local Area Agency on Aging provides some excellent resources. Comfort Keepers also provides exceptional service through the help of our caregivers to help your loved one. If you are in search of Dementia care, please contact our office at (877) 698-9394.