It is heartbreaking to see your loved ones or family members suffer from Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia. The disease robs individuals of their identity and leaves them dependent on their family. For the elderly suffering from dementia, monitoring and caretaker services become a priority. One must have their elderly family member suffering from Alzheimer’s under careful surveillance and under the guidance of a professional caretaker.
One of the challenges that the family members of Alzheimer’s patients have to face is protecting their loved one’s dignity and self-respect as dementia progresses.
Besides putting them under supervised monitoring and providing them instant help through caretakers, one must make sure the patient does not feel excluded and as a burden to the family. Here are some of the tips to help you take care of your loved ones suffering from dementia:
Establish their individuality
If you are putting a professional caregiver in charge and responsible for the well being of the seniors in your family, make sure they learn about them beforehand. Take some time out to tell caregivers, doctors, and other staff about the elderly and what kind of life they used to lead. Have them know what the patient they are serving used to do for a living, what were their hobbies, and what kind of a person they were. It will help you establish your loved one’s individuality with the caregiver, doctors, and staff and allow them to see the elderly as a person rather than a disease.
Do the same with family members who have not seen the elderly in a while so they remain attached with them by reminiscing the stories.
Be careful of how you speak with them
Adults with dementia often lose their ability to hold conversations because of reduced verbal skills and fading memory. When talking to such patients, people unintentionally bring a condescending and patronizing tone in their way of speaking. While we do it with an intention to hold a meaningful conversation, the method affects the elderly’s self-respect and dignity. Therefore the best way to talk to dementia patients is in the usual tone, albeit a little slow.
You must also be careful not to discuss the elder in front of everyone and if you do, make sure you involve them in the conversation as well. If you are discussing their condition with the doctor, allow the elderly to speak for themselves, and be ready to step in casually when you feel they are losing their grip or their self-esteem is suffering.
Making this a habit will also have your caregivers follow your suit so when you are not around the elderly you know they will be treated right and be taken seriously.
Many dementia researchers believe that when you do things for the person suffering from dementia, you are, in a way, taking away their independence. Your efforts to make their life easier results in them becoming overly dependent on others’ help.
Even when you hire caregivers, ask them to allow the patient to carry out as many of the daily tasks as possible and only let them step in when necessary. Having a monitoring system installed at home will allow you to keep an eye out for whether the caregivers are practicing the method that you have instructed them with. It will also allow you to supervise the caregivers in case of an emergency or an accident.
Pay attention and oblige
People suffering from dementia can have altered reality. Instead of trying to acquaint them with the present, listen to them and try to understand what they have to say. Empathy is the key to deal with dementia. Most seniors that suffer from dementia need to have their feelings and thoughts validated and you can do so by practicing empathy. If you keep on orienting them towards facts and figures, you might leave them feeling agitated and lost.