Almost 1 in 10 older Americans has some form of dementia, with the dementia rate sharply rising as age increases. With increased longevity, more families are affected by dementia, especially as they take on caregiving.
If you are coping with a parent who has dementia or are caring for someone with dementia, you may be wondering what you should do-or not do-to make your loved one as comfortable as possible. While every situation may be different, here are a few do’s and don’ts you should follow.
Do’s of Memory Care
Do simplify things. When speaking to someone with dementia, speak slowly and in simple sentences. The easier your speech is to understand, the easier it is for everyone to follow.
This also means minimizing the choices you give someone. Don’t ask too many questions or too complicated questions. Instead of asking an open-ended or multiple-choice question, you could ask, “Do you prefer x or y?”
Do create a calm environment. Start by minimizing noise, whether it be outside noise or noisy entertainment options such as a loud television or music. Consider changing your lighting, opting for natural light whenever possible.
Scent can also be relaxing and calming. While scented candles can be a safety hazard, there are alternatives such as plug-ins, reed diffusers, and candle warmers. Look for relaxing scents such as lavender, peppermint, frankincense, and rosemary.
Do keep commonly used items nearby and accessible. Make a note of what items the adult with dementia tends to use the most, and place them in visible locations.
Overall, you want to create a simple, calm, environment. This can aid with sundown syndrome.
Don’ts of Memory Care
Don’t argue, disagree, or confront someone with dementia. Your loved one is not trying to be argumentative or confrontational. While it can be frustrating caring for someone with dementia, remember that they are not intentionally trying to be difficult to deal with.
Instead, try to agree or distract them. It is okay to accept the blame for something going wrong (even if it’s untrue, or an altogether made-up scenario). Consider leaving the room to avoid confrontation (if necessary).
Don’t fight the inevitable. As you become more familiar with dementia, default to the path of least resistance. If your loved one insists on something being true, offer to look into it or take care of the situation, instead of insisting that it isn’t true.
Don’t be negative. Try to focus on the present as opposed to what has been lost due to dementia. Living in the past won’t be helpful for either you or your loved one.
Don’t do it alone. While caring for someone with ALZ or another type of dementia can be stressful, there are resources available to you. Here is a list of national organizations and resources that you may find helpful.
Get Help Caring for Someone With Dementia
Caring for someone with dementia is not an easy feat, but help is available.
If you are looking for Katy memory care options for your loved one, SilverCrest Senior Living can help. Our facility is designed to help residents with memory-related diseases stay engaged, with personalized care plans. SilverCrest partners with third-party providers such as hospice, therapy services, and home health to allow residents to age in place.
For more information on our memory care services, contact us.