Dementia is a condition which affects more people than you may think, and the number of people who develop dementia is growing as well. If you have a loved one with dementia, you may have thought about placing them in a care home. But the problem with this is that it can cause trauma to your loved one simply because they will have to adjust to a totally unfamiliar environment – an environment which is essentially alien to them.
The good news nowadays is that you don’t have to go for the care home option if you don’t want to – the cost of caring for someone with dementia in their own home is now comparable to the cost of placing a loved one in a care centre. If your loved one can stay at home and be cared for in their own familiar, beloved environment, this will be much better for everyone concerned. But you would need to be able to handle their care with knowledge and awareness. Here’s how you can properly care for a family member with dementia in their home.
Help them remember – and help yourself remember
There are many symptoms associated with dementia, and this includes irritability, confusion, anger, and a lot more. But remember that your elderly family member is still the same person underneath, even with all the symptoms of their condition. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of this as well. If you want your family member – and yourself – to have an easier time dealing with the situation, you can help them remember. You can, for example, fill a box with photos and mementos so they can look through it, or create a scrapbook with everyone’s photos. You should also keep your old family photograph albums in plain sight so your loved one can go through it whenever they like.
Phrase it properly
Talking to your loved one with dementia can be quite challenging as well, as you want to make sure that they don’t become confused or rattled, especially if you are asking questions. The point is to make them relaxed, and you can only do this by phrasing your sentences and questions properly. You should focus on questions which are answerable by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ rather than questions which require a detailed answer. This way, they don’t have to be forced to come up with detailed answers which can lead to stress or anxiety. When you are speaking with your loved one with dementia, it would also be better not to contradict them if they have a ‘wrong’ answer or a ‘wrong’ memory. Their reality can be different from yours when they have the condition, so it’s better not to disturb or threaten their sense of reality as this only causes further stress or trauma.
It is true that whilst a condition like dementia can have an effect on some important brain functions, it will take a while for a person’s imagination to become affected. Creativity is key – encourage your loved one to be more creative by playing their favourite songs and allowing them to sing along or helping them pursue some creative passions such as drawing, craft-making, or painting.
At the end of the day, it’s all about providing your loved one with a significant quality of life. You can also make it easier for everyone if you opt for professional dementia care at home which can be provided by a good caregiver. With this kind of professional help, you can give your loved one the care they truly deserve.
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