Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia can be an extremely challenging process. Not only do you need to look after his or her physical wellbeing, but you will also have to manage a variety of mental and emotional complications. These six tips can help you provide the best care without sacrificing your own happiness.
1. Become a Researcher
Learn as much as possible about this progressive disorder to keep your loved one healthy and happy. Even if you think you know quite a bit about dementia, this condition is surrounded by misconceptions. As a new caregiver, you also need to spend some time researching your loved one’s specific type of dementia.
If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia and you need additional help, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care. Arvada families can benefit from our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Keep a Journal
To properly care for a senior with dementia, you should carefully track all of the symptoms. Whenever you meet with your loved one’s primary doctor or a dementia specialist, this type of information will be invaluable. Your caregiving journal should include information such as your loved one’s diet, sleep schedule, and any unusual symptoms you have recently noticed.
3. Create a Support Team
No matter how much time and energy you are willing to devote to caregiving, everyone needs help at some point. Having a few friends and family members ready to assist you with errands or chores can take a bit of stress out of the situation. Whenever your loved one is prescribed medication or receives new treatment instructions from the doctor, your support team should be given this information.
If you do not have family and friends available, you can hire a live-in caregiver. For many seniors in Arvada, CO, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
4. Speak Clearly at All Times
As the disorder progresses, your loved one will most likely begin to have difficulty with complex sentences and ideas. Not only is this situation frustrating for caregivers, but it can also make seniors with dementia hostile or violent. Practice giving clear instructions with short sentences and simple words. Being able to clearly communicate with your loved one could prevent a few challenges down the road.
5. Fix Your Loved One’s Diet
It might seem easier to serve your loved one’s favorite foods, but this can cause serious health issues. Seniors who have been diagnosed with dementia-related disorders have very high rates of malnutrition, diabetes, and obesity. Sticking to a healthy diet isn’t going to cure the dementia, but it could alleviate some of the symptoms. If you are unsure of what your loved one should be eating, consult with his or her doctor or a registered dietitian.
6. Schedule Breaks for Yourself
Caregiver burnout is a serious condition characterized by ongoing stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Dementia caregivers who don’t take regular breaks could compromise their physical and emotional health. Spending a few hours every week doing something you enjoy gives you a chance to reset and renew your energy. You can also hire a professional caregiver to assist your senior loved one in your absence or when you need a period of respite to care for yourself.
If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Arvada, CO, 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. Call us at (720) 642-1600, speak with one of our professional Care Managers, and create a high-quality care plan for your elderly loved one.