Caring for Those With Dementia

Caregivers and family members face many challenges when tending to a loved one with dementia. Those with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s have difficulty remembering things, communicating, thinking clearly and taking care of themselves. Dementia may even cause mood swings, or change a person’s personality or behavior. Behavior changes are often the most difficult aspects of the disorder. The following are some tips that can help face these challenges.

  1. Talk to the Doctor First. A doctor will be best trained to find any medical reasons for a change in behavior. A medication may cause adverse side effects, or the person is experiencing pain but unable to communicate this. A trained professional will be able to find these reasons. In addition to recognizing these side effects, doctors may prescribe treatments to assist in managing the problem.
  2. Find the Reason for the Behavior. Communication is often hard for those with dementia. The ability to explain what they need or want is hindered, leading to behaviors we might find strange. Try to pinpoint the reason behind the behavior. Are they looking for something to keep them busy? Was something done or said to trigger that behavior? Has there been any changes in the environment or persons around them?
  3. Try to Accommodate the Behavior. Understanding the reasons behind the behavior will better prepare you to accommodate the behavior. The person you are caring for has a brain disorder which has shaped the behavior that you are seeing. Attempting to control this behavior may be met with resistance. Instead try to accommodate the behavior, this will involve a lot of flexibility, creativity, and patience.
  4. Get Support. Remember, you are not alone. There will be good days and there will be bad, and what worked one day may not work the next. For those bad days, find support. Whether its local groups, family or a home health care provider, there are many out there who are willing to help you.

For more information and tips on caring for someone with dementia visit the Alzheimer’s Association website. Considering a home care provider? Read more about the home care services Dedicated Nursing Associates can provide here.