Though taking care of loved ones with dementia can feel daunting, with a better understanding of the disease, it can feel somewhat less challenging. If you’re caring for a friend, loved one, or parent with some type of dementia (i.e., Alzheimer’s disease), crucial to your success is the combination of vital information and a good attitude.
If you can maintain a realistic but positive approach, and educate yourself about the disease, as a caregiver, you will maintain a certain degree of control. It will help not only improve the care you provide, but it can also lessen the impact of those unexpected changes and challenges you may encounter along the way.
When approaching your role as a caregiver for a dementia patient, here are some important facts to consider.
Have a Plan
Though you’ll have plenty to do at present, taking care of business as it is, you will want to be sure to put together a plan for the future. Dementia does not go away, it only advances. Eventually, you will require professional care to meet all the needs of your loved one with dementia. A retirement community with a memory care division is ideal.
It’s Not Just Memory Loss
For those with dementia, memory loss is simply one symptom. There are many more aspects of the disease. In addition to memory loss, it can also involve the following:
- Movement issues and loss of balance
- Disregard for the feelings of others
- Acting impulsively
- Paranoia, delusions, and/or hallucinations
- Loss of interest
- Seemingly unusual word usage and/or repeated questions
- Trouble handling money, paying bills, etc.
- Difficulty expressing thoughts, writing, reading, understanding, and/or speaking
- Confusion and poor judgment
“Success” is different in the eyes of a caregiver than it is in the eyes of others. You must celebrate your small victories, and not allow setbacks to devastate you. Your basic goal is to help assure the person with dementia that they will be as safe, happy, and as comfortable as possible. There will be bad days and good days. Cherish the good ones. Move past the bad ones.
Empathy Goes a Long Way
Empathy and compassion are the starting points for a caregiver who looks after a loved one with dementia. This is particularly important for dementia caregivers, though it extends throughout all human relationships. There will be many instances that may try your patience and become exceedingly frustrating for both parties. Try to imagine what it would feel like to be a person suffering from dementia. Unless it’s happening to you, it’s relatively unimaginable. But do your best. Empathize whenever possible.
Never be afraid, hesitant, or ashamed to ask for assistance. This is a hard disease to deal with, more so if you have to do it alone. Ask for help from a professional, friend, or family member when you need it. In fact, you may choose to look up support groups in your area. There, you will be able to vent to others in the same situation as you share ideas and solutions.
When it comes time to turn the care of your loved one over to the professionals, consider Rittenhouse Village At Northside.
SHINE® Memory Care Program at Rittenhouse Village At Northside
At Rittenhouse Village At Northside, our SHINE® Memory Care program is an exclusive memory care option. To promote engagement, quality-of-life, and comprehension, we use data that is science-driven in our highly personalized approach. With this program, the families of dementia patients, as well as the patients themselves, will benefit greatly.
A National Certificate of Recognition was awarded to our program, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association (the nation’s leading voluntary Alzheimer’s research and care health organization). This distinction is shared by only a very elite, small group of memory care providers in the United States. Don’t hesitate another moment to discover what our SHINE® program can do for your loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory issues, etc.
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