Living with dementia is a difficult challenge, and it’s especially difficult on the caregivers, many of whom devote hours to care for a loved one with progressing dementia. For family member caregivers, this affects all aspects of our lives, causing many to adjust their employment status or to sacrifice time with their children or grandchildren. Today, we’ll talk about some of these challenges and give you some valuable tips for managing the difficult task of caring for a family member with dementia.
Become empowered through education. Learning the facts about the disease is the first step in helping family caregivers meet the challenge of caring for their loved ones. There are many different types of dementia, each with different causes and sometimes different effects. Alzheimer’s disease is often in the news, so many people associate all dementia with Alzheimer’s. But other types include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or dementia caused by diseases like Parkinson’s or traumatic brain injury. Get as much information as you can about your loved one’s diagnosis to help build expectations about the symptoms so that you are prepared to help.
Build a partnership with the physician. As the disease progresses, build a relationship with your loved one’s doctor so you can keep him or her apprised of your loved one’s symptoms and coping skills. The doctor can be one of your best partners in coping as a caregiver for a person with dementia.
Don’t go it alone. In addition to the doctor, you’ll need other members of the team to help you cope with the day-to-day needs of a person with dementia. This might include a part-time or live-in caregiver, a housekeeper, and your loved one’s friends, who can continue to help provide emotional support for both you and your loved one. Don’t be hesitant to ask for help. Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenge that requires a team. Ask your family member’s physician for information about resources that can help caregivers in your area.
Stay positive. It’s difficult to be positive when you’re facing the challenge of day-to-day care for a loved one with dementia, but a positive attitude shows in interactions with your family member. Most likely, your loved one is experiencing fear and confusion as his or her life changes in this way, and many of the behaviors you’ll see are manifestations of this fear. You may need to be repetitive when talking to your family member, and you may need to help them break everyday tasks down into smaller steps to make it easier to feel a sense of accomplishment. Make things simple and be prepared to redirect if your loved one gets upset or confused. Handling difficult behavior is a challenge that requires a positive outlook and a lot of patience.
When living at home becomes too difficult for your loved one and you need to consider assisted senior living, contact us at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our dedicated professionals will help make the senior living transition smooth and manageable for your loved one. Our facilities are designed to make seniors feel right at home, with helpful amenities, interesting activities, a focus on wellness, and a friendly sense of community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.