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When Taking Care of Someone with Dementia…

caregiver helping a senior woman

Important Do’s and Don’ts

Understanding how to care for someone with dementia can be a learning process for anyone. After all, you are exploring uncharted territory with your loved one. It can be a confusing and overwhelming time for both the person with dementia and the caregiver.

To make the journey a bit easier, Capital Home Care, a trusted provider of home care in Rockville, Maryland, have listed down a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you take care of your loved one with dementia:

  • In terms of respect…
    DO remember to always treat someone with dementia with utmost dignity and respect. Do include them in conversations; look them in the eye when speaking to them, and respect their privacy and boundaries.

    DON’T act like they aren’t in the room. Don’t criticize, argue, or scold them. Don’t invade their privacy and boundaries, and never brush their feelings aside.

  • In terms of relationships…
    DO accept the fact that your relationship with the dementia patient may change over time, particularly once their disease progresses.
    DON’T assume that just because your relationship changes, that it is no longer meaningful. You can still enjoy your time together in various ways that can bring you closer to each other.

  • In terms of aggressive behavior…
    DO remain calm when your loved one exhibits aggressive behavior. People with dementia may act aggressively or say hostile words in response to feeling scared, confused, or helpless. Use what you know about the person and try to understand why they are feeling that way. Try to de-escalate the situation by remaining calm and shifting their focus.

    DON’T argue. Don’t try to correct what they are saying to you since the accuracy of the information is not as vital as the feelings that they are trying to convey. Also, don’t take it personally. Don’t forget that their aggressive behavior is not always deliberate – it is often just a symptom of their condition.

  • In terms of self-care…
    DO remember to take care of yourself. Taking care of someone with dementia can be exhausting – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make sure to watch out for signs of caregiver burnout, such as feelings of hopelessness, moodiness, sleeping problems, increased vulnerability to illness, and withdrawal from family and friends. Do consider respite care option by having another caregiver replace you temporarily from Capital Home Care Maryland or Capital Home Care Virginia, so that you can take some much-needed break.

    DON’T ignore your own health. No matter how busy you get with your caregiving duties, don’t cancel your medical appointments. Don’t ignore symptoms of caregiver burnout. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family members, friends, or professional caregivers.

  • In terms of meeting basic needs..
    DO ensure that their basic needs are being met. Oftentimes, people with dementia have difficult time communicating their basic needs. This, in turn, can cause them to become irritable, frustrated, anxious, and have accentuated feelings causing behavioral changes. For instance, if they are hungry, if they are tired, if they are bored, if they are in pain due to being in an uncomfortable position, if they are scared, if they are thirsty. It is difficult for them to communicate their needs so do not focus on the behavior; focus on the underlying, the unmet need that could be driving the particular problem behavior.

Final Thoughts
What do you think about these dementia care Do’s and Don’ts? We would love to hear your thoughts!

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