According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest Facts and Figures report, 15 million caregivers in the United States provide unpaid care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or and other forms of dementia. These caregivers provide the necessary care and assistance to a loved one for a variety of reasons: 65 percent of them do so to allow their family members to continue to live in their own home, while 38 percent of dementia caregivers feel an obligation to provide the care their loved ones need to maintain their quality of life.
Caring for a Loved One with Dementia: Being a Successful Dementia Caregiver
Regardless of the reason for providing care to a loved one throughout the stages of dementia, it’s not uncommon for dementia caregivers to face certain challenges along their caregiving journey. However, there are a few tips and strategies these caregivers can keep in mind to not only provide the quality care their loved ones deserve, but also to help reduce their risk for caregiver stress syndrome.
Five effective dementia caregiving tips include:
- Know how to approach the individual with dementia. Certain techniques can help reduce anxiety in your loved one, which in turn can make caregiving tasks easier. For instance, never approach the person from behind, as this can cause uneasiness or startle them. Instead, approach your loved one slowly from the front, calling the person by name while identifying yourself, too.
- Keep it simple. Ask simple yes or no questions and be patient while awaiting the individual’s response. You may find you need to repeat your question, or even offer up the response if you think your loved one is having difficulty finding the right words.
- Determine the root cause for behavioral expressions. Understand what may be causing certain behavioral expressions like wandering or sundowning. It could simply be that your loved one has needs that aren’t being sufficiently met; perhaps thirst is driving the individual to wander around the home at night in search of a glass of water. Find out if anything in particular could be triggering stress or anxiety, like loud noises coming from the television.
- Deal with your feelings. You should not only validate your loved one’s feelings, but consider your own, too. To better cope with the stress of dementia caregiving, exercise, employ coping techniques like deep breathing, praying or join a caregiver support group.
- Make a long-term plan. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means your loved one’s symptoms will worsen over time. There may come a point when you can no longer provide the level of care the individual needs. This is why it’s important to know your options for long-term care and support. Memory care communities are designed to provide a safe, comfortable environment where your loved one can continue to enjoy the highest quality of life possible throughout the stages of dementia.
American Senior Communities offers person-centered, wellness based dementia care at our Auguste’s Cottage and a variety of assisted living memory care apartments throughout our locations. We also provide quality respite care services to allow caregivers time to attend to their own needs. Contact us today to request more information.