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Important Dos & Don’ts for Dementia Caregivers

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Seniors with dementia often exhibit many challenging behaviors. Even though there is currently no cure for dementia, having an empathetic and well-informed caregiver can make life easier for a senior who is living with this cognitive disorder. Here is a look at a few dos and don’ts that can help you address some of the most common complications and symptoms of dementia.

Do: Educate Yourself

Many myths and rumors surround dementia, which is why you need to get your information from reliable sources. In addition to speaking to your loved one’s doctor, you can also search the internet for local support groups. One of those groups should be able to provide you with useful and accurate information on long-term caregiving. 

Dementia and other types of cognitive issues can adversely impact your senior loved one’s health, making it difficult to provide care for him or her. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional non-medical home care. Fairfield, Connecticut, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Don’t: Ignore the Early Warning Signs

An early and accurate diagnosis could delay some of the symptoms of dementia. Mental and emotional changes are completely normal as people grow older, but those changes should be gradual. If your loved one suddenly becomes forgetful or has a difficult time completing basic tasks, schedule a checkup with his or her doctor. You also need to keep an eye out for sudden shifts in your loved one’s personality. 

Do: Remain Calm

A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for everyone involved, and caregivers must keep their feelings out of the situation whenever possible. Seniors who are in the earliest stages of dementia might experience a wide range of emotions, including fear, disbelief, and anger. The ideal way to respond to those emotions is to be caring and empathetic at all times. Caregivers should immediately take a step back and give themselves a moment to calm down when they become frustrated or resentful. 

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need a break from your caregiving duties to relax, unwind, and stave off negative emotions. Families looking to hire a Fairfield caregiver can reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers receive extensive ongoing training to ensure they provide the high-quality in-home care seniors need and deserve.

Don’t: Be Aggressive

As dementia progresses, aggression can be triggered by seemingly insignificant situations such as a visitor knocking on the door or a meal getting cold. One of the worst things you can do is shout at your loved one. Unless your loved one’s safety is at risk, it is generally a better idea to put an end to the argument and try again another day. 

Do: Track the Symptoms

From the moment the diagnosis is confirmed, you should maintain a caregiving journal that tracks symptoms, mood swings, medications, and your loved one’s overall demeanor each day. Over time, you can use the journal to get a better idea of what triggers some of the worst behaviors. The journal can also give you a good look at any other variables that are affecting your loved one’s moods, such as diet and sleep habits. 

Don’t: Try to Do Everything Yourself

Caregivers who don’t ask for help often experience burnout, which can have a major impact on their emotional, physical, and mental health. You need to have a support system comprised of family members, friends, and other caregivers who can help you stay motivated and sane.

Seniors living with dementia or other types of cognitive issues can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Fairfield Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. Call us at 203-955-1915 to create a customized home care plan for your senior loved one.