Dementia, which comes in various forms such as Alzheimer’s disease, is generally characterized as the deterioration of a person’s cognitive functioning—consisting of thinking, remembering, and reasoning, behavioral abilities. Though it is not an unusual condition for individuals reaching or in their late, elderly years, it is definitely not something to be taken lightly, as dementia greatly affects a person’s day-to-day life, as well as interferes with their activities and tasks.
Although their cognitive abilities are greatly affected, seniors suffering from dementia can still feel emotions, and at times, and are susceptible to depression, especially when they are well aware of their condition.
If you have an elderly loved one suffering from dementia, providing them with the proper care and support they need would require a special health care service, done either in a facility or in their own homes. Listed below are tips in taking good care of seniors with dementia:
- Use a positive tone and body language.
In communicating, the tone and body language you are giving off speak more than the actual words spoken. So when dealing with a dementia patient, it is very important to use a pleasant tone of voice, kind facial expression, and a gentle touch every once in a while to accompany your words. Positive interaction will allow the patient to feel comfortable and safe.
- State your message clearly.
When talking to a senior with dementia, do not use too many words in a sentence, or in any way slur your words. Speak slowly and pronounce your words clearly, with a constant soft and reassuring tone. If they do not understand at first, use the same words and repeat the statement again, or wait a few minutes before repeating the same statement in the same tone.
- Capture their attention.
Dementia patients are able to perform activities or express themselves better if they are to focus on things one at a time, in order to increase the attention span dedicated to that specific matter. When trying to communicate with them, limit distractions such as the radio and TV, and outside noise. Get their attention and once you have it, talk to them with their names as you also introduce yourself and how you’re related to them. Maintain eye-level interaction at all times.
- Break down activities and tasks into steps.
Having a patient suffering from dementia do something on their own, or with little assistance, can be often times challenging. The key, however, is to break down the tasks or activities into steps, repeating to the important reminders to the patient in doing what they need to do. Using visual cues can also be helpful, as they can follow and remember these easily than audio cues.
Barbara Care, Inc. provides quality and efficient home care services in Lexington, Kentucky with caregivers that are especially trained and equipped to handle and take care of dementia patients. We offer a wide range of services that cover all non-medical needs of your senior loved ones, providing only the best personal care in Kentucky done with a heart.