Providing care to a loved one living with dementia can be a very unique experience that requires support from friends, family, and community. During September, which is World Alzheimer's Month, it is important to remember that these caregivers deserve our help and assistance. These caregivers should also be building their support system and working towards an innovative care plan that is adaptable. Flexible and adaptable care plans are built around tips and advice that give our caregivers a bigger toolbox of options when they need them. This article is specifically designed to help caregivers who care for a loved one with dementia and provide them with not only tips that may help, but also advice on how to care for themselves.
Everyday Care Tips
When your loved one is living with dementia, their memory is not the only thing that is affected. Your loved one can experience changes in the way they think, reason, and experience the world around them. This means that simple everyday activities may become more difficult. A few things that might help include:
- Keeping a routine so that bathing, dressing, and eating happens at the same time every day.
- Making sure your loved one stays on task with organizational tools such as to-do lists, appointment books, and a calendar.
- Plan activities for the same time each day, and make sure they are something that your loved one enjoys.
- Consider some type of system that reminds your loved one to take their medications.
- Allow your loved one to do as much as they are able for as long as possible.
- Uncomfortable clothing is irritating, help your loved one create a comfortable wardrobe full of clothes they like.
- If you are doing something different, try to walk your loved one through what you are doing in a step-by-step fashion so that they don’t get lost or feel as though they have lost control.
Tips for a Healthy and Active Lifestyle for People with Dementia
Staying active, social, and healthy is important for any loved one living with dementia. As the disease progresses, this may become challenging, so here are a few tips that can help:
- Build chores and activities your loved one enjoys into the daily routine. When your loved one feels useful and has a purpose, their mood will improve.
- Add music to the day, it may help motivate your loved one to get up and do things.
- Be very realistic about what your loved one can do, an activity with only a few steps may be better than one that has too many steps to remember.
- Remember to exercise, walk, and eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Remind yourself to give your loved one choices whenever possible, it helps them stay confident and in control.
Tips for Caring for Yourself
When we start providing care for our loved one, it can be easy to get overwhelmed without realizing it. It is important to have a community of people around you who can support you when you feel lonely or frustrated. Here are a few tips that can offer relief:
- Ask for help from friends, family, or your community when you need it.
- Maintain a healthy diet, it can be easy to skip meals, so set alarms and stick to a schedule.
- Join a support group, seek out a friend, or find professional advice. This helps you let off some steam and relieve stress.
- Take breaks, hire a respite worker, and build your team before you need to rely on them heavily so that you feel more comfortable when you need to lean on them later.
- Keep up with hobbies, groups, activities, and your physical health.
Remember that if you need a break or are interested in resources that can help you in your caregiving journey, then we are here to help you. Homewatch CareGivers of Ellicott City is always here to support both you and your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.