Caring for a parent or family member with any form of memory impairment can present unique challenges. It can be emotional, overwhelming, and even frustrating at times. Providing care for someone living with dementia is only effective if you have strategies to promote communication and comfort while easing feelings of stress and anxiety.
The Pavilion Senior Living, with dementia care communities in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee, is experienced in providing exceptional care to individuals with dementia or other memory impairments. We want to share a few dos and don’ts for family caregivers.
Dementia Care Dos
✔️ Do Foster a Calm Environment
A calm environment helps to eliminate confusion and frustration. Remove clutter from your home, keep décor neutral colors, and limit excessive noise. Temperature also plays a role in feeling calm, so ensure that the environment is kept at a consistently comfortable temperature.
✔️ Do Support Independence
Losing the feeling of independence is frustrating and can feel defeating. Encourage your older parent or family member to perform daily tasks for themselves, as long as he or she can do so safely. Maintaining their independence by doing these tasks can also provide mental stimulation that can help slow the progression of the condition.
✔️ Do Simplify Daily Activities
Simplifying daily activities can help foster independence as well as eliminate confusion. For instance, using plastic or paper cups can prevent your loved one from accidentally breaking a glass.
You may also simplify things by the way you speak. Use casual language that is easy to understand.
✔️ Do Establish a Familiar Routine
A consistent routine is vital for those with memory impairments. By creating a routine that is followed daily, your parent or relative is able to understand what to expect out of the day, decreasing the opportunity for unnecessary confusion. Start each day the same way, eat meals at the same time, and establish a nightly routine.
✔️ Do Use Redirection
When your older parent or family member becomes frustrated or upset, instead of becoming defensive or encouraging conflict, introduce a new activity, or start talking about a different subject. This can allow him or her to redirect their attention and move passed whatever was causing frustration.
Dementia Care Don’ts
🚫 Don’t Argue with Your Loved One
Arguing will only escalate a situation. If your loved one is confused, even if he or she is wrong, understanding this can be difficult for them. Instead of arguing, use redirecting to diffuse the situation.
🚫 Don’t Talk About the Individual as if He or She is Not There
When you talk about an individual as if he or she is not there, you are undermining their dignity. Just because a person is dealing with dementia or another form of memory impairment does not mean that they are unable to make decisions. Including the individual in conversation and activities will promote mental stimulation and protect his or her identity as Mom, Dad, etc.
🚫 Don’t Take it Personally
Coping and living with dementia is frustrating. Your loved one’s anger is not directed at you; It is directed at their condition or inability to recall information, complete a task, etc. When your parent or family member is frustrated, redirect their attention.
🚫 Don’t Lean Too Much on Reason
For your loved one, things do not make sense the way they used to, and their reasoning skills are weakened. When your older parent is confused, trying to rationalize with them may only lead to more confusion and frustration. Focus on how your loved one feels rather than the logic behind these feelings.
At The Pavilion Senior Living, we understand the obstacles that arise as your parent or family member’s condition progresses, making it more challenging to care for him or her on your own. Our compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care services provide individuals with a secure environment enhanced by specialized programming that is designed to encourage engagement, connection, and social wellness.
The Pavilion Senior Living’s memory care program provides individuals with opportunities for life enrichment through daily mental stimulating activities. We invite you to contact us to learn more about our memory care services or our communities.