Caring for a Loved One with Dementia

It’s very difficult when your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia because there are so many questions surrounding that news. And now you find yourself in the position of caregiver which can be difficult and overwhelming especially if you’re still working and have a family.

One of the most important things to remember is you’re not alone. In 2017, 16 million caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia’s provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care (Alzheimer’s Association). There are many places you can gather information, professionals you can speak to, support groups to attend and services that are available to assist.

Some important steps in providing care:
• Use a positive approach
o Give short, simple information
o Simple choices
o Ask them to help
o Always say thank you so they know you appreciate what they are doing
• Break tasks up into small steps
o By doing this you eliminate the frustration for both of you
o Give one task at a time
• Use music – it’s great therapy and provides relaxation
• Reminisce about the times they remember
o Know their history so you can talk about it
o Laugh with them
o Use words they used
o Create a memory jar where family and friends write down their favorite memories and you can read them to your loved one
• Ask for help
o Friends, other family, home care agencies

Being a caregiver is a very difficult job. You can’t take care of someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s so important to make sure you have time off and step away from caregiving to relax. Caregivers who do not take a break have high levels of stress, health issues and become angry. Schedule time for dinner, shopping, a movie date or a long weekend away. Allow your family and friends to help or use a local agency that provides dementia-trained caregivers.
One of the more difficult things to do is leave your loved one with someone else when you’ve been the primary caregiver. Take the time to interview local agencies and find the one that you feel can provide the care your loved one needs. Ask if their caregivers are trained in providing dementia care. Find an agency that can provide you peace of mind so you can truly relax and take a break.
The caregivers at Visiting Angels of Lancaster, Hanover and York are trained in providing dementia and palliative care and other specialized care, call us we can help!
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Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Sandy Sferrella-Taylor, Public Relations Manager at Visiting Angels of Lancaster, Hanover and York.