Paid caregiving services are not always possible for people suffering from Dementia, which means loved ones usually act as caregivers during a difficult time. The primary caregiver, usually a spouse or adult child, may have to provide round-the-clock care, which can exact a heavy toll on the caregiver. Caregivers often require a break to recharge and may turn to other loved ones to help if they can’t afford to hire a professional. Stepping in to help a loved one with Dementia can be tricky, but there are ways to make it work. Here are some tips to help you if you’re providing care for a loved one with Dementia:
Unfortunately, you’re going to be helping a loved one who may not be the same person you remember. If you’re pitching in to provide some respite care, make sure you understand what that care entails, and get familiar with your loved one’s new condition. This might mean spending time assisting the primary caregiver before you take over, or even just spending some extra time with them.
Be Aware of Your Situation
You should always be mindful of how you approach your loved one, as certain situations can heighten their anxiety. For example, you should always walk slowly and approach them from the front, as this lets them know that someone is coming and gives them time to adjust. A sudden movement or approach from behind could cause problems.
Provide Hand-Under-Hand Assistance
Depending on the severity of their condition, some Dementia patients require assistance with everyday tasks like eating with utensils or brushing their teeth. In these cases, you’ll want to place your hand under their hand to help guide them while performing these activities. Many times this will jog a memory for them, and they can continue the activity unassisted. Other times, you may just need to provide that extra support for them as they move through their day.
Keep Emergency Information Close
If a problem ever occurs, you want to make sure you have the right contact information ready. Calling 911 is the most obvious option, but you should also have the contact information for your loved one’s physician, as well as information about medication they’re taking or any other medical issues that are a concern. Knowing that you have this information close by can help reduce your anxiety during this time, as well.
If you have more questions about helping to care for a loved one with Dementia, or if you’re currently providing care but your loved one needs a higher level of support, please contact our Elder Law office at 877-653-3450 to schedule an initial consultation.