If your loved one is struggling to keep up because of dementia, you can play a big role here in keeping them healthy and even preserving their quality of life. But, you need to know that it is not going to be easy for caregivers to help someone dealing with progressive brain diseases.
It could be mentally, physically, and financially draining and it can become even more challenging with time, depending on the type of dementia. For instance, patients with Lewy body dementia have to deal with serious fluctuations in their cognitive abilities throughout the day, so it can be challenging and frustrating for caregivers to deal with them.
You need to keep calm and remember a few important practical strategies to resolve behavioral problems in patients with advanced dementia. For instance:
• Work on maintaining a positive mood. That holds true for you as well as the patient. Don’t let yourself feel stressed, which may be hard at times, but work on that and ensure that you keep conveying feelings of affection. You can do that with your tone of voice, facial expressions, and touch.
• Always try to get the attention of the patient before you say anything. So many times, caregivers forget about this rule and don’t get the results they might have been hoping to see. It may also help to eliminate any distractions, such as TV. Once you get the attention, always identify yourself by your name, and do the same for the patient. As mentioned already, be sure to use nonverbal cues to help maintain their focus.
• Always ensure that your message is clear. For this, you should work on speaking slowly without making things confusing. Understand that it is common for the patient to not understand your question or statement the first time, so be prepared to repeat it using the same wording. If they don’t understand it, you may want to wait for a few moments and then rephrase to make it clearer for them.
• Don’t ask tricky questions or make statements that are difficult to understand an answer. It is a good idea to not ask more than a single question at a time and always aim for “yes” or “no” responses. Don’t give them too many choices and use visual prompts whenever you can to get good results.
• Try to break down activities and work on making the environment as relaxing as possible. For this, you can use dementia music players or use music therapy in some way, as it really helps an upset or agitated patient. You can get more details regarding music and dementia “here“.
• Don’t argue, as it is not going to help much. You can help the patient more by being affectionate and reassuring. It may also help to make things better by keeping a sense of humor alive, for which you need to find things that the patient finds interesting and can laugh about too.
Overall, you will have to put in a lot of effort to ensure you play a positive role in making living easier for someone struggling with dementia. Be prepared to deal with challenges but ensure you don’t let it all affect your health and mental well-being by staying active and finding time for you as well.