Families with dementia patients find themselves facing obstacles, especially in communication as their loved one deteriorates in their cognitive functions. They often find themselves struggling with an elderly throwing tantrum in angst. We put together 4 tips in a dementia caregiver’s guide to having the right mindset in dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s:
1. Create a Calm and Positive Ambience
Temperature and colors are little things that add up to a lot. Make sure that the room is not too hot or cold, and that colors in the room are warm and neutral.
Likewise, remove all extra stimuli that are potential triggers like the TV or radio and keep them in quiet surroundings. Comfort objects like their favorite keepsakes help a lot to provide a sense of security for them.
2. Keep The Conversation Light and Simple
Make sure you have their attention, and they understand who you are. The conversation should be simple and easy to keep going. Questions that require too much thinking frustrates them and makes them agitated. Being patient and being able to repeat what you say in a calm and reassuring tone makes them feel that you are a good listener.
Prompts will help move along their thinking process. Seek to understand what they are trying to convey and clarify with them if needed. If they are getting frustrated, always reassure them and guide their thoughts elsewhere.
3. Simplify Dementia Activities and Exercises
When bringing them for exercises or activities, ensure the instructions are given in simple bite-size steps. Break things down further and help them visualize so they can understand better if they have any difficulty.
Never give instructions all at one go. Instead, give them a general idea first and guide them through the motions, reminding them of what is next. Always be gentle and never rush. Praise and encourage them with each success.
4. Rely On Affection, Nostalgia, And Humor
Lightly squeeze their arm/shoulder or pat their back gently. Your touch will help to reinforce the positive in their accomplishment.
While their cognitive function in the everyday things might be deteriorating, the last things to go are their memories of days long past. You might have heard the same story over and over again, but it helps them to recall their younger days and relive happy moments.
People love jokes, and so do people with dementia. It keeps things light and easy.
Agentbong partners with iCare Life to provide training to caregivers with AIC-approved courses. You can find out more about our services here, or write an email to us and our representatives will be more than glad to help you.