Tips for Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis
In some cases, the best lessons in life come about from going through them firsthand; yet the knowledge we are able to glean from those who have walked a similar path before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a senior who has been given a dementia diagnosis, and you’re becoming a bit stressed in this uncharted territory, the recommendations below can help:
- A brief break often makes a big difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with challenging feelings, such as fear or anger, it is advisable to stop whatever activity or task she is involved with, and allow time for a breather. Change the situation by moving into a different room or outside if the weather allows, play some favorite music, browse through a photo album, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you can try the task once again, in many cases with better outcomes.
- Let go of rationalizing. Attempting to establish a point or win a quarrel is rarely effective when talking with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will likely be done, permit the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
- Overcome denial. While it can be human nature to want to deny that there’s a problem, recognizing warning signs of dementia and pursuing medical attention as quickly as possible is very important to obtain the care and treatment necessary.
- Check medications. The side effects of some prescription drugs can in fact cause additional confusion and cognitive difficulties, sometimes more than the disease itself. Put together an in-depth list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review together with the senior’s doctor to make sure that the advantages surpass any adverse effects.
- Take care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant concerns for loved ones taking care of a senior with dementia. Make certain that you’re making enough time for self-care, socialization, and hobbies which you enjoy. Keep in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is healthy and refreshed.
- Be aware that life can be fulfilling with dementia. While the person you love is going through some hard changes, it’s beneficial to appreciate that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness in spite of the disease. Try out different types of fun-filled activities for the senior to enhance socialization, boost memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.
The Walnut Creek memory care team at Hired Hands Homecare is always available to provide the support you will need to make sure your loved one with dementia will be able to live life to the fullest. Contact us online or call us at (866) 940-4343 for additional details on our highly specialized in-home dementia care for seniors.