Caregiving tips for dementia patients is a topic we are often asked about. Being the caregiver of someone with dementia comes with a whole set of challenges. The disease is progressive, meaning that your loved one’s health status can change from month-to-month depending on how quickly they are declining mentally. It’s important to be prepared at every step along the way, but oftentimes that means simply taking it day-by-day.
As a caregiver, it’s important to establish routines and daily habits with your loved one, as comfort is a big necessity for those with dementia. Dementia patients may have trouble with communicating, as well as with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing, making it very important that you minimize confusion and instability in their life.
Here are some tips for your daily care routine as a caregiver of someone with dementia.
Establish a Daily Schedule
Create a daily routine for your loved one, based on the times of days that they are at their best corresponding with tasks that require more effort. Make sure you write down the routine, and consider displaying it somewhere where your loved one can see it as well. You should set regular times during the day for activities such as bathing, eating, and bedtime. Schedules and regularity will be very important as your loved one’s disease progresses.
Incorporate time into the schedule for intellectual and spiritual activities as well. If your loved one is able to move around, make sure there is a physical activity planned for most days of the week. It has been shown that regular exercise and brain games can help slow down the progression of dementia.
Keep in mind that despite the fact that you have a written schedule, you will still need to be flexible with regards to the needs of your loved one. Review your schedule regularly to see what is working and what needs to be revised.
Personal Care Routines
Oftentimes, personal care can decline in those with dementia as they start to forget when certain care activities need to be done throughout the day. Dementia patients may be resistant to things such as bathing and changing clothes. It’s important to make the bathroom and changing areas as comfortable as possible. Invest in large towels for after the bath, ensuring that your loved one feels warm and supported. Keep clothing options simple and organized, and give very specific directions when helping your loved one bathe and dress.
It’s also important to maintain a personal care routine so your loved one knows what to expect, and they can even help get the process ready. Always maintain their dignity when assisting with personal care, and allow privacy if you can. These are aspects of independence that are important for your loved one to feel that they can have even throughout the course of their disease.
Daily Medical Care
Make sure that you are having regular conversations with your loved one’s doctor about what they need to be doing on a daily basis to maintain proper health. This may be diet-related or the medications they are required to take. These may also change as the disease progresses, so it’s important that you are establishing a regular medical routine and communication.
Additionally, take daily notes of everything that happens at home from a medical standpoint. If your loved one has an upset stomach or problems with incontinence, it’s important to alert his or her doctor as to the frequency of these types of events. It could mean that medications need to be changed, or that there is a bigger health problem that will need to be explored.
Being the caregiver of someone with dementia is no easy task. If you need assistance with daily routines and activities, contact us at 24/7 Nursing Care at 786-518-3622. We provide nursing and companion services from the short-term to long-term care. We are happy to serve you and your loved one.
Daily Care | Caregiver Center. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-daily-plan.asp?WT.mc_id=enews2018_01_18&utm_source=enews-aff-33&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=enews-2018-01-18
Dementia – daily care. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000030.htm