Tips on caring for people with dementia

Guest blog by  Jason Tucker

 

When it comes to caring for people with dementia, quality of life is paramount. There’s no two ways about it, the most important thing is that they are treated with respect and dignity. Wouldn’t you expect the same? People with dementia do require an elevated standard of care, and while it can be tiresome, it’s crucial that they are extended the courtesies and pleasantries you’d give to anyone else.

Firstly, leave all your stress at the door. While the behaviour of those with dementia can be confusing, try and keep your patience in check at all times. It’s not helpful to get wound up and it only serves to break down the relationship of trust you might have built up with the person you’re caring for.

Encouragement is just as important, as it really helps to reinforce a positive environment that is extremely helpful. People with dementia can be very fragile and sometimes harbour a low self-worth – which is all the more reason to flash them that extra wide smile and make a bit of a fuss over them whenever possible. Don’t patronise the patient, just express how well they have done.

It also helps to find a bit of common ground or take an interest in their hobbies. Something like this might mean a lot more to them than you realise, so identifying what’s important to them can be a big help.

This third tip might sound simple, but it is vital. It’s simply to listen. When caring for people with dementia, it can be all too easy to steamroller right over what they actually need, just by switching off to what their saying. Take the time to find out if they have any worries. If you help them through it, it will be a huge foundation to build on in the later stages of their condition.

 

A bit of normality and routine can be another massive help. It provides the person you’re caring for with something familiar to get to grips with, and such things might be few and far between. Where possible, try and work together on a project or engage in a regular activity that you can both share.

Last but certainly not least is privacy. While it might seem counter-intuitive, caring for people with dementia doesn’t mean looking over their shoulder every waking second. If they are still able to do various things for themselves, let them. Prying into every aspect of their life could well be damaging, so do tread carefully.

To find out more about caring for people with dementia, click the following link:

http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/

 

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