Understanding How To Help A Family Member With Dementia
The sad reality of life is the ageing process. It means we watch the people around us get older, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The parents that looked after you for decades are now much older and require your help. When the human body ages, changes occur throughout. Some of these are visible - you develop wrinkles, your posture changes. Other changes are invisible - like the changes that happen inside your mind.
Dementia is an umbrella term for the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities, interfering with daily life. Another sad fact of life is that many of your elderly relatives will contract Alzheimer’s disease when they get older, leading to dementia. This impairs their ability to think and remember things, which is very hard for them to deal with.
It’s also hard for family members - like yourself - to deal with. If you have a family member that suffers from dementia, it’s important to learn what you can do to help them cope. Here are some key tips:
Start by educating yourself about dementia. In most people, dementia will be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, but it can be caused by other things. Understand why your loved one is suffering from dementia, and it will go a long way to let you help them deal with it.
Consider a care home
Sometimes, it’s better for your loved one if they moved into a special home. There are places like Charing Healthcare Rosewood Care home that are specifically designed for people with dementia. Living in places like these will ensure your loved one gets all the care and support they require. They will have medical help that could help them improve their memory, and you also don’t have to worry about them being left home alone where accidents could happen.
Be positive in your interactions
When interacting with someone that suffers from memory loss, it’s important to stay positive. Speak in a friendly tone, have a smile on your face and avoid raising your voice. Use positive body language whenever you talk to them as well. Effectively, you want to do everything you can to convey your love and support for this person. They might not understand what you’re saying, they may not know who you are, but they will be able to tell that you’re there to help.
Ask simple questions
You want to avoid having long conversations and talking too much to someone with dementia. You don’t want to overload them with loads of information that’s hard for them to process. Instead, you need to ask short and simple questions - questions they can answer. Ask them how they are, what they’ve done today, etc.
Most importantly of all, you need to be patient. There’s a high likelihood you’ll need to repeat your questions when talking to your loved one with dementia. They might take a long time to reply, and that’s perfectly okay.
Dealing with a family member that has dementia is not going to be easy. But, they were once there for you when you needed help, so now’s the time to return the favour.