Caring for a loved one with dementia can be very challenging. People with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s have a progressive brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult to remember things, think clearly, communicate, and take care of one’s self. It can also cause mood swings and even change a person’s personality and behavior. That’s why knowing how to communicate and handle troubling behavior is essential in caring for individuals with dementia. Knapp & Roberts, an elder abuse law firm based in Phoenix explains 5 tips that caregivers should know:
1.) Ask simple, answerable questions. So as not to overwhelm someone with dementia, it’s best to ask one question at a time – particularly questions that require a mere yes or no. Open-ended questions or offering too many choices can get confusing. If you want to offer different choices, it’s best to use visual cues and keep the options to a minimum.
2.) Listen, but don’t be afraid to redirect. You want to be patient in waiting for a loved one’s reply, but it’s okay to suggest words if you see he or she is struggling. Watch for body language and respond appropriately. If you see your loved one getting upset, don’t be afraid to distract and redirect. Change the subject. Switch up the environment and take a walk.
3.) Respond with positivity, affection and reassurance. Although people with dementia often feel confused, anxious and unsure of themselves, it’s important to remember that those feelings are real and respond accordingly. Show verbal and physical expressions of comfort, support, reassurance, and positivity. When caring for your loved one, it’s okay to hold hands, hug, and praise your loved one.
4.) What is working today, may not work tomorrow. With behavior that can be triggered and change based on what a person says or does, or even by a change in environment, it’s important that a caregiver remain calm, be creative, and most importantly, be flexible in addressing issues on a day-to-day basis.
5.) You are not alone – get support and help from others! There are many resources for those caring for a loved one with dementia. You can contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Division of Aging and Adult Services, the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and more. You can find a full list of resources in Arizona here.
If caring for your loved one starts to be too overwhelming, it’s okay to consider other options. In fact, if your loved one is at risk for wandering or their condition prevents them from performing everyday duties like bathing or going to the bathroom alone, it may benefit you and your loved one to have him or her be under 24/7 supervision. Families may consider out-of-home care, in-home care, long-term care, and adult day care.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.