After a dementia diagnosis, you may find yourself wondering how to proceed as a family caregiver. On one hand, you want to help your loved one as much as possible, yet you also want to avoid upsetting him or her or experiencing burnout. While dementia care requires some careful planning, you can use these tips to determine what works best as you spend time with your loved one.
Do: Realize Your Relationship Will Change
It is normal to wish things could stay the same forever. However, dementia affects a person’s personality, and you may find that taking on the role of a caregiver alters your relationship with your parent. Don’t try to fight this process. Instead, embrace it by realizing this new phase in your relationship also has benefits. Your role as a caregiver allows you to spend more time with your loved one, and that is special enough to celebrate.
Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia can be challenging at times. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Philadelphia, PA, home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Don’t: Engage in an Argument
Aggression is a symptom of dementia many caregivers find challenging. If your loved one tries to claim something is true that you know is not, avoid arguing with him or her. Your loved one may not be able to understand your reasoning, which could escalate the situation. Sometimes, it is better to redirect the conversation to another topic instead of trying to argue your point.
Do: Take Care of Yourself
New caregivers often underestimate the physical and emotional toll of caregiving. Make sure to arrange for respite care so you can attend your annual checkups and focus on your own health and wellbeing. Staying in optimum physical health can help you maintain the energy you need to manage the changing demands of dementia care.
If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Philadelphia, PA, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Don’t: Be Afraid to Address Specific Needs
Changes in your loved one’s health may require you to alter his or her care plan as dementia progresses. For instance, you may notice your loved one no longer remembers to take his or her medication correctly or has stacks of bills piling up. Don’t be scared to bring up the need for more assistance around the house, but make sure to address it using positive language. Consider telling your loved one you want to relieve him or her of the burden of housekeeping by arranging for professional home care services, or you could offer to provide assistance with medication management.
Do: Find Ways to Relax Throughout the Day
Taking mini breaks is one of the best ways to relieve stress when a full day off might not be possible. Talk to other caregivers to find out how they de-stress during the day. From enjoying a quick phone call with a friend to deep breathing while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, you can squeeze in little moments of relaxation to prevent feeling overburdened during the day.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need help caring for a senior loved one living with dementia. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Philadelphia 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 (215) 645-4663 to learn about our premier in-home care plans.