dementia

Providing care for a loved one with dementia offers inherent rewards – the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment in knowing you’re helping make the senior’s life as safe and comfortable as possible, the joy of seeing his or her smile at a favorite activity, the warmth of reminiscing together. But it’s also one of the most challenging responsibilities any of us can undertake.

The New Hampton, NH home care team at Live Free Home Health Care partners with families in providing education and hands-on, specialized assistance with dementia care, and recommends the following strategies to manage some of the more difficult aspects of caring for a senior with dementia:

Wandering

Wandering can occur for a variety of reasons: boredom, agitation, pain, depression, confusion, the need to use the restroom, and others. Trying to discern the root cause for your senior loved one’s wandering is the key. For example, a bored senior with dementia may be redirected to a favorite activity or reminiscing over photos. If pain is suspected, be sure to check in with the senior’s physician for help. Keep doors locked to ensure the senior does not wander away from home, and always make sure he or she is wearing some type of identification at all times just in case a wandering incident should arise.

Sundowning

Sleep pattern changes and disruptions are common in dementia, and can lead to exhaustion for family caregivers. It’s helpful to try to limit daytime sleeping and create a soothing, sleep-inducing environment during the evening: keep lights low, play calming music, and avoid serving the senior any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. If, in spite of these efforts, the senior continues to remain awake and agitated throughout the night, enlisting the help of a professional caregiver, such as those provided by Live Free Home Health Care, can ensure safety overnight and a chance for family members to get much-needed rest.

Aggression

Stress can quickly escalate 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 important to remain calm, even in the face of agitation, and to understand which activities are most calming for your loved one and have them at the ready to diffuse difficult situations. This could be a tactical activity, favorite music, a walk outside, listening to a story read aloud – it may take some trial and error to discover what works best.

Live Free Home Health Care’s New Hampton, NH 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 603-217-0149 to arrange for a free in-home consultation or to get answers to any of your dementia care questions.

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