WITH Dementia Awareness Week coming up from May 15-21, Home Instead will be sharing some essential advice for those of you caring for someone with dementia.
One of the most important things to understand about dementia is that it is essential to change the ways in which you care for the person in order to maintain their (and your) quality of life. Putting yourself in their world, rather than trying to bring them back into ours, will give you the opportunity to be a much more effective caregiver.
The Dementia care advice below is taken from the book, Confidence to Care (UK Edition), published by at-home company, Home Instead Senior Care which specialises in caring for the elderly. 1. Redirect. Redirect means ‘change direction’. Changing the topic or mood from bad to good and creating a more positive and safe result are the objectives.
For example, if your family member asks the same thing over and over again, such as, ‘What time is it?’ you could use your knowledge of them and redirect to a favourite subject or activity. 2. Apologise and take the blame. Apologising or taking the blame takes the attention off the person. The individual may calm down if he or she believes a situation was not their fault. Even when it isn’t your fault, an apology sometimes solves the problem and allows you to regroup and move to a more positive situation. 3. Engage in meaningful activities. Mental, physical and social activities can create positive emotional responses that diminish stress and anxiety for the person with dementia. Participating in activities helps the person feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 4. Physically remove the person or change the environment. People can become agitated, upset or overly focused on something in their environment. For example, they may become upset because there are too many clothes in the wardrobe. 5. Maintain a routine. Set regular times for daily activities, such as bathing. Do things the same way and at the same time. Only change routines when they don’t appear to be working.
It is important to recognise that it may take various attempts and approaches before these techniques become truly effective. If a technique does not work first time, it is best to take a step back and try again a few minutes later, taking a different approach.