Are you caring with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?
Fist of all … my hats off to you. November is National Caregiver’s Month – a time to honor all of you who work so hard every day making the lives of special people better.
Being with and caring for someone whose memory is failing can be such a challenge and can sometimes create a lot of frustration and perhaps even conflict.
Here are a couple of tips straight from the Alzheimer’s Association’s website that will hopefully help to reduce the stress and the chance of difficulty dealing with an elder.
Change the way you communicate
Though the person we knew and loved might still be there, their way of reasoning and understanding has changed. When approaching people living with dementia, communication must be modified. Tips to remember when communicating with the person are:
- Take it slow and keep it simple.
- Give one-step directions
- Give enough time for the person with dementia to think about the request
- When you repeat yourself, do so exactly the ways you said it the first time
- Do not reason with the person
- Give honest compliments
Kindness before honesty
Following closely behind communication modifications is this tip: kindness before honesty. As caregivers, we need not be above deception. There are times where a situation seems to be unsolvable; the person you care for has become frustrated with what is unfolding in a situation. These times might become frustrating and overwhelming, but you must do what is best for the person. Is the person having a hard time when you leave their side? Tell them that you will be back in a few minutes. Whether you are or not, it is better to choose to be kind in the moment and appeal to their emotions than lose patience with them when being honest.
Dealing with a person with dementia means retooling how we do things. Not the other way around. It’s a great reminder when things get tough on a daily basis.
It’s hard to accept that things aren’t the way they were before. But sadly, that’s the way it is. Hopefully, these tips help you care with greater care.