Tips for people caring for those with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia
According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.4 million American's suffer from Alzheimer's or other dementias, which includes one in eight Americans over the age of 65 and nearly half of Americans over the age of 85.
Home health aides can be a vital resource as they are trained to negotiate the challenges that a dementia patient can face, and can help to ensure that they remain calm and comfortable.
Tony Walker is a home health aide with Partners in Care, a company that provides private home care health services, specializing in patients with dementia. He shared tips for caregivers and loved ones helping a dementia patient at home.
What are some of the greatest challenges that face caregivers of people with dementia?
Caregivers are faced with many challenges when dealing with loved ones who have dementia. One of the most frequent challenges is that it can become frustrating to communicate with someone with dementia, especially when they are not clear as to what they really need or want. It is important for the caregiver to remain patient, and have a positive attitude when communicating.
Helpful tips for communicating with dementia patients include: Using clear language, with simple words and sentences Speaking slowly and clearly in reassuring tones Using exact names of people, places and things rather than pronouns or abbreviations Another challenge that often confronts caregivers of patients with dementia is unpredictable changes in personality or behavior with the patient. There are many ways to deal with these mood swings and behavioral changes; always trying to remember to remain flexible, patient, and compassionate when responding to a dementia patient's frustrations or changed.
How can caregivers take care of their patients as well as of themselves?
One of the challenges most often associated with caring for patients with dementia is that the caregiver becomes overwhelmed or fatigued, and feels as though they have no time for themselves. It is important for caregivers to remember that taking time for themselves is vital, and will ultimately make them a better caregiver. If you as a caregiver are unable to leave your loved one with dementia unattended, it may be helpful to look for a licensed home care agency. Look for licensed agencies like Partners in Care that ensure the quality of their caregivers by going above and beyond state standards of training and certifications. Caregivers with Partners in Care are also available for long and short terms depending on your needs and can help with a variety of tasks and projects.
Bringing in an outside caregiver from a licensed agency can bring a family welcome relief knowing that their loved one is being cared for by someone trained to handle the situation.