Providing care for someone with dementia has a world of rewards – the feeling of satisfaction and achievement in knowing you’re helping make the person’s life as safe and comfortable as possible, the joy of seeing his/her smile at an enjoyable activity, the warmth of reminiscing with each other. However, it’s also one of the most daunting responsibilities any of us can undertake.
The St. Louis home care team at Compassionate Nursing Services works together with families in sharing education and hands-on, specialized help with dementia care, and offers the following strategies to deal with some of the more challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia:
Wandering can occur for a wide variety of reasons: feeling bored, agitation, discomfort, depression, confusion, the need to use the bathroom, and more. Attempting to discover the root reason for your senior loved one’s wandering is important. For example, a bored senior with dementia could possibly be redirected to a favorite activity or reminiscing over photographs. If pain is suspected, be sure to contact the senior’s medical professional for advice. Keep doors locked to ensure the individual does not wander away from home, and always be sure he or she is wearing some means of identification at all times just in case a wandering incident should occur.
Sleeping changes and disruptions are widespread in dementia, and can contribute to fatigue for family caregivers. It’s a good idea to try to limit daytime sleeping and create a comforting, sleep-inducing atmosphere during the evening: keep lights low, play comforting music, and abstain from serving the senior any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. If, in spite of these efforts, the senior continues to remain awake and agitated during the course of the night, recruiting the extra assistance of a professional caregiver, such as those provided by Compassionate Nursing Services, can ensure safety overnight and a chance for family members to get much-needed rest.
Stress can rapidly increase to agitation and even aggression for those with dementia. Seniors may also be picking up on your own stress, which can lead to further distress for them. It’s crucial to remain calm, even in the face of aggression, and to recognize which activities are most calming for your loved one and have them readily available to diffuse overwhelming situations. This could be a tactical activity, the person’s favorite music, a walk outdoors, listening to a story read out loud – it may take a little trial and error to identify what works best.
Compassionate Nursing Services’ St. Louis home care professionals are trained and experienced in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and would love to partner with you in providing the highest possible quality of care for your senior loved one. Call us at 314-432-4312 to schedule a free in-home consultation or to get answers to any of your dementia care questions.