- April 17, 2014
- Category: Latest
Caring for someone with dementia is a complex journey full of pitfalls and surprises. It can seem as if the person you know is vanishing before your eyes and being replaced with someone else. It’s a tough thing to go through, both for the carer and the sufferer. However, there are some steps that can be taken to help the person suffering with dementia as much as possible.
Do your Research:
The thought of helping someone who has been diagnosed with dementia is a daunting one for many. You may feel out of your depth and ill-equipped to offer any support. Whether that is due to emotional upheaval or limited knowledge, researching and learning more about dementia will help both you and your loved one. Find sources that speak truthfully and don’t scaremonger. Find out if there are any support groups or networks in your local area, and utilise them to your advantage if there are. Find as much responsibly sourced and truthful information as you can and use this new found knowledge to help you care for the person who is suffering with dementia.
Be there to Listen:
To a person who has just been diagnosed with dementia, the future may seem unclear and frightening. Be there to listen to any worries they may have about their prognosis, and offer to help them in any way you are able to. Often, talking about something makes the problem a thousand times easier to bear, and if you are able to offer this kind of support, the person suffering with dementia will benefit hugely.
As time goes on and the person suffering with dementia begins to struggle with some everyday tasks, try your best to be patient and understanding. If they are trying to communicate with you, trying to find the right word and you are finding it difficult to understand, it can be difficult. Relax, and try to get to the bottom of what they are trying to say without scolding or pressurising them. Learning to interpret other cues such as body language can be hugely helpful in situations such as this.
Treat them with Respect:
No matter what turns our lives take, we are still human, and the same goes for someone who is living with dementia. Things that they were comfortable with before their diagnosis may be unwelcome now, and it’s important to establish these new boundaries. Addressing them with the name or title they feel most comfortable with, and establishing how they react to physical contact can be hugely beneficial. Treating them with respect and making them feel comfortable will make a world of difference to their lives, and telling others who will interact with them to do the same will make socialising and meeting others something to be enjoyed rather than something to worry about.
Help with Everyday Tasks:
Having the ability to complete everyday tasks can be something that people in good health can take for granted. Going shopping, for example, can becoming confusing and daunting for someone experiencing problems with their memory. This is where you can step in and help. Include them in the process, such as making a list of what needs to be done, but be there to step in if they forget something vital. Being on hand to take them shopping will be beneficial too, as they will not need to worry about finding their way home alone. Cooking and cleaning can also be areas in which you can be helpful – just don’t take over. Letting them participate in activities as much as they are able to will help to them to feel independent for as long as possible.
Just do your best, it will be Good Enough:
Putting all or some of these methods into practice can hugely benefit a person who is suffering with dementia. It can be sad to watch someone change so dramatically, but knowing that there are ways in which you can help, no matter how small, is always a good thing. Building on trust, communication and respect within the relationship you have will ensure that they have a life that is full of happiness and quality for as long as possible.
Jo Windibank is the Vacancy Manager at St George’s Care Agency who provide high-quality and caring domiciliary care in the Essex area.
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