Does one of your loved ones have dementia? If that is the case, then it must be really tough for you. In fact, you might have trouble figuring out how to help that person. Luckily, we are here to help you out! In this article, you will find seven simple ways to help someone with dementia, ranging from setting a positive mood for interaction, getting their attention, and stating your message clearly to asking simple questions, using memory aids, and helping them with eating and drinking.
Once you are done reading, you should have a general idea of how you can help your loved one make the most out of their current situation.
1. Help With Eating, Drinking, and Moving Around
When someone has dementia, eating food can become more complicated than you might imagine. Someone with dementia may experience some cognitive difficulties, which can make it hard to recognise food or to notice that they are hungry. It is up to others to help them make the most out of their meals and snacks.
Here are some things that you can do to make this process more manageable for them:
- Make sure that they eat at the table because it will allow them to feel more comfortable.
- Use small plates so that they will not feel full up too quickly.
- Prepare their favourite foods but serve them in small portions.
- Make sure that their hands are clean before they eat.
Dementia often has a significant impact on mobility. If your loved one needs to use a wheelchair, you may wish to buy a wheelchair carrier for the car and drive your loved one to medical appointments. It is going to be a lot more convenient than taking public transport!
Alternatively, if you need a helping hand, you can contact an in-home respite care provider or hire a professional caregiver for a long-term contract. With their experience and training, they can provide high-quality care and help your loved one satiate their hunger and thirst.
2. Setting a Positive Mood for Interaction
Setting a positive mood for interaction with someone who has dementia can be challenging. After all, there are times when that person might react unexpectedly. Besides, since they may not remember things from one day to another, you might expect them to act differently in various situations.
However, setting the mood for engagement is what you can do to help them enjoy their interactions more. You can achieve this goal by meeting with them in familiar places, always greeting them in the same manner, and smiling often.
3. Getting Their Attention
You must know how to get the attention of someone with dementia. Otherwise, you will have no chance of communicating with them. We recommend that you use eye contact and speak in a loud voice. Of course, no two people with dementia will have the exact same symptoms or experiences. There is no golden rule to follow here – just pay attention to your loved one and notice what helps you get their attention.
4. Stating Your Message Clearly
When you want to help someone with dementia, you must state your message clearly. Try to avoid too many complex words or technical terms. Instead, use as plain language as possible.
At the same time, you should avoid creating a conversation with many twists and turns because they might get lost along the way. You should just say what needs to be said as clearly as possible. Thanks to this method, they will understand you better and will be more likely to respond well to what you are saying.
5. Asking Simple Questions
People who suffer from dementia can forget things rather quickly. For this reason, you should always keep your questions as simple as possible.
Additionally, when someone has difficulty with memory, they can become less spontaneous in their reactions and answers. Instead, they tend to take longer to respond, or they might not know how to answer at all. Therefore, if you want to ask a person with dementia for something, you should prepare your questions in advance. Above all, be patient and let your loved one take their time if they need to.
6. Using Memory Aids
To help someone with dementia remember certain things, consider using memory aids. For example, if you want them to remember the date of an upcoming event, write it down on a piece of paper and place it somewhere they’ll see it every day.
Alternatively, if your loved one is struggling to remember where to find things, you may wish to draw a little map of their home. This way, they will know where everything is located and easily find what they are looking for in the future. Or, if they don’t get on with using a map, try adding large-print labels to doors, cupboards, and appliances to avoid confusion. Pictures can help too.
7. Helping With Taking Medications
If you are trying to help someone with dementia, you must know what to do when they need to take their medicine. For instance, some of the essential things you have to consider include making sure that they will take their pills on time and in the right amount.
Here are a few other things that you can do to make the process of taking medications more straightforward:
- Use a daily pill box for storing the medicines and write down the time of the day when the people you care for should take each pill.
- Ensure that the medication is on the same table as the glass of water, so they will remember to take a sip after taking their pills.
- Set up medication reminders using a smartphone app or a simple alarm clock.
It’s also essential to provide them with safety solutions. Even for people who live with others, it might be challenging to get the help you need immediately. They might fall in another room or a bathroom. To make sure they’ll get help as soon as possible, you can provide them with a personal alarm. If the wearer suffers a fall, one touch of their pendant button will raise a call for assistance.
The Bottom Line
Caring for someone with dementia might be stressful. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. If you feel like it is your calling, now you should be more aware of how you can do it.
There are many things you can do to help someone with dementia. Although this incurable syndrome affects each person differently, you may follow a few general guidelines to help your loved one enjoy their life more.
During your interactions with people who suffer from it, pay close attention to how you state your message. Remember to use plain language, ask simple questions, and express your message clearly. If you do these things correctly, you should be able to help those who you care most about.