The number one in helping a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s is not treating them like a child. Even though it can be overwhelming there are certain words that you want to avoid. Giving them a normal life as possible is important for them to keep a healthy mindset.
Treat your aging loved one with Alzheimer’s as a capable adult. Here are a few ways you can do that:
The Dignity Dementia Needs
Everybody’s got a past of likes and dislikes. We also have a history that makes us who we are, and a personality. Keep that in mind when caring for an Alzheimer’s parent. This includes respecting their spiritual sense, the food they prefer to eat, and the things they like to do.
Remember the Person Behind the Alzheimer’s
Caregivers often focus so much on numbers and statistics, such as their aging loved one’s weight, how much food they’ve eaten, blood pressure or blood sugar levels. Ask your loved one how he or she feels daily. What would make your loved one comfortable? Happy? Consider alternative ways of increasing their sense of self such as with music, art or pet therapy.
Build Confidence and Self-worth by Getting Back to Basics
At times it can be difficult not to treat your aging loved one as a child you love, but to show respect and patience. Speak kindly, sincerely, and respectfully to increase their self-esteem. Give them tasks they can accomplish to help maintain their self-worth. But don’t expect more from your aging loved one than they are capable of.
Answer questions patiently—no matter how many times you must repeat your answer. Learn their daily patterns and routines and use them as a way to create a stable environment. This can help reduce confusion, sundowning, and aggression in seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Allow Independence As Much As Possible
Your loved one’s patterns, understanding, and capabilities may change daily. Allow them to do as much as they can at any time. This may include bathing, feeding themselves, or light chores. Step in to help only when you see it’s needed.
Good caregiving changes daily based on your loved one’s needs. And research shows that allowing a person with Alzheimer’s to do as much as they can for themselves may delay the progression of the disease.
Listening Shows You Care
How do you know what your loved one needs at any given moment?
The best caregivers are the ones who give themselves permission to enter into the world of the person they’re caring for. What that means is looking for signs –the life someone once led, their passions, daily routines, and memories, all still matter.
Watching and listening with true empathy can help you, as caregiver, provide what your loved one needs at any given time. Doing so helps preserve your loved one’s dignity.
Dignity and Sense of Self Contribute to a Better Quality of Life
Evidence shows that people with Alzheimer’s who maintain their dignity and receive respect from caregivers have less risk of depression and anxiety, leading to a better quality of life.
The Victorian Assisted Living and Retirement Community
The Victorian is an assisted living and retirement community that makes living independently, while at the same time feeling safe and secure, a reality. We strive to provide the best quality of life for all residents including those suffering from loneliness and depression.
We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact The Victorian today to learn more about our services or tour our community.