At Askham Village Community, we understand the life-changing impacts of a dementia diagnosis, for both the individual and their family.
Our dedicated staff are passionate about delivering person-centred, compassionate care to each and every one of our residents. They work with the residents themselves, as well as family members and relevant health professionals to create tailored care plans for each individual’s experience.
Throughout our care journey at Askham, we’ve acquired a few tried-and-tested strategies that work well for both our staff and residents. From showing sensitivity to encouraging them to be more active members in the community, our methods have been helping our residents to live with integrity, comfort and purpose.
If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, you may wish to support them at home in the early stages of their condition. Remaining in their own home, whilst they still can, can provide a welcome sense of comfort and reassurance.
So, in this week’s blog post, we’re taking a look at how you, as a dementia caregiver, can help your loved one remain comfortable, safe and as positive as possible at home.
Show Empathy, Compassion and Sensitivity
As your loved one’s dementia caregiver, the easiest and perhaps most important thing you can do is show empathy, compassion and sensitivity throughout their journey.
As their condition progresses, you may start to notice changes in their behaviour that seem unusual to you. Try not to react to these changes; instead, understand that your loved one is likely as confused as you are. Welcome them with open arms when they need affection, and show them that you love them unconditionally.
You may notice that you need to repeat yourself more often, or change the ways in which you communicate; this is a completely normal part of the process. It’s important to remember to resist the urge to get frustrated when things start to take a little longer than usual, too. Remember to remain patient and supportive throughout.
Try to Involve Them in the Community
When providing dementia care to your loved one, it’s important to remember that, occasionally, they will likely benefit from social interaction at community events.
Whether you accompany them to a weekly coffee morning or you regularly visit other family members, mixing with others can help to prevent feelings of isolation.
Immerse Yourself in Their World
When living with dementia, an individual experiences a world that is likely very different from others around them. This is a completely normal progression, and it can be difficult for loved ones to know how to react to this.
When your loved one shows behaviours that you don’t recognise or find confusing, avoid questioning them. Rather, immerse yourself in their reality as best you can. Engage in the conversations that make sense to them, and take part in activities that your loved one enjoys.
However, your loved one’s safety is paramount – so if they are showing any behaviours that you consider to be dangerous to their health, it’s important to address this with the help of a professional.
Set Friendly Reminders to Help With Short-Term Memory Loss
When your loved one shows signs of short-term memory loss, creating friendly reminders for daily tasks can be helpful.
If you’ve noticed that your loved one loses track of the days of the week, for example, or they need to be reminded of the date and time of your next coffee morning, leaving Post-it notes around the house can help to prompt them.
Simplify Their Daily Life as Much as Possible
One of the best ways to care for your loved one with dementia is to simplify their day-to-day life as much as possible.
Streamlining their choices can make all the difference; it can help to reduce agitation and boost feelings of calm and relaxation.
So, when helping your loved one choose their outfit for the day, try presenting them with two options rather than the whole wardrobe. This can apply to many other daily choices, such as meals and outings. Limiting the options to just two will help to prevent feelings of overwhelm for your loved one, whilst also allowing them to retain freedom of choice.
If you feel that your loved one would benefit from the help of a professional dementia caregiver, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.