Being a professional dementia caregiver is a demanding yet necessary job. The task of providing care for someone with dementia requires both inner and outer strength, along with a dedication to professionalism no matter what challenges you face during your caregiving experience.
June is Dementia Care Professionals Month, and in honor of this month, we will be taking a closer look at some important tips that all dementia care professionals need to keep in mind—as well as a closer look at the importance of self-care for all dementia caregivers.
3 Tips for Caring for People with Dementia
Being a caregiver for someone with dementia is never easy, but you can improve your caregiving and be more prepared for challenges when you keep the following tips in mind.
Tip #1: Do not argue or correct someone with dementia
As a caregiver, it can be tempting to give into the instinct to correct, remind or argue with someone who has dementia when they say things that are untrue or do not make sense. While this may come from the right place, correcting someone with dementia (except in cases where the correction is related to their safety) will only result in them becoming upset. If you are a professional giving professional assistance to a family, make sure to pass on this essential advice to them as well.
Tip #2: Practice validation therapy
One of the most common practices you'll need to learn as a dementia caregiver is validation therapy. Validation therapy refers to acknowledging a dementia patient's reality rather than arguing or correcting it. For example, if the person you’re providing care for says that their deceased mother will be coming home from work soon, acknowledge their reality with an affirmation. To use the previous example, ask them what their mother does for work, or what they like to do when their mother is at work, rather than reminding them that their mother has passed. Validation therapy is considered one of the best ways to help dementia patients feel calm, happy and safe.
Tip #3: Learn how to reframe questions for simple answers
Even basic questions can be overwhelming to someone with dementia, especially once they have lost the ability to form clear ideas. Instead of asking questions which have open-ended or limitless answers, reframe what you ask in a way that can be answered with either "yes" or "no." For instance, instead of asking "What do you want to eat for dinner today?" ask them "Do you want fried chicken for dinner?" This same type of simple questioning should be applied to everything you possibly can.
Dementia Caregivers: Don’t Forget Self-Care
One of the most important aspects of being a caregiver for someone with dementia, whether you are a professional or family member, is to practice self-care. Self-care will help you avoid caregiver burnout. Regular self-care should include scheduling time away from caregiving, allowing yourself to ask other people to help you, and carving out time to make sure you are getting a proper diet and healthy amount of sleep.
For more information, guidance, or assistance, contact the experts at Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte today.