Dementia patients have to deal with regressing from a productive, functioning adult to becoming dependent and childlike once again. Dealing with fundamental difficulties like knowing where you are, or incontinence can be embarrassing and can complicate day to day life.
As a caregiver, it's essential to find creative ways to deal with these problems. That means your quick thinking will solve most problems. But whatever obstacles you end up dealing with, staying flexible, patient, and compassionate are vital to maintaining a positive, amicable relationship.
To guide your actions, consider the following:
There are some things you can't change.
Dementia can change people drastically, and trying to force them into rationality or normalcy may only frustrate you both. If the person under your care flat out refuses to work with you, look first to the things you can change: your reaction, and the environment. Keeping that in mind, work to accommodate the person and their behaviours, unless they are violent or could result in injury.
Consult a medical professional.
Many behaviours have underlying medical reasons like pain or a side effect of their medication. By understanding what the person under your care is dealing with, you can more effectively help them deal with the underlying problem, and not focus on the symptomatic behaviours. Also, there may be some medications available that would help get rid of the symptoms, like sleeplessness, or incontinence. Keep in mind, however, that problems some medicines solve can open up new issues as they put away old ones.
Consider the person.
Just like you or I, a person dealing with dementia has desires and triggers that affect their behaviour. If the person you're caring for is performing unwanted actions, consider the reasons why they may be doing it. A person continually rearranging furniture may just be looking for something to do, and this is the only outlet they can see. Instead of trying to change the behaviours, change the environment and see how it affects their actions.
Just because a loved one has dementia or other mental disease does not mean that your life has to, should, or can stop. Find support near you that will help you continue to live your life. After all, you can only help as long as you are healthy, both physically and mentally.
Nothing stays the same.
Helping an Alzheimer's patient is, above all else, a creative endeavour. As you come up with solutions that work with your environment, your life, your loved one, and the disease, you will start to see some victories. But be careful about relying on the tried and true. Dementia is a continually progressing disease, and solutions all have a lifespan. But, if you stay creative, flexible and patient, and have a healthy support system, it is possible to continue your life, and your relationship with the person under your care.
Call (204) 900-8621 to book an appointment and inquire about our services with one of our care representatives.