13 Tips for Caring for Someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's

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Our mission is to be a part of your loved one’s journey during their time with us at Water’s Edge of Bradenton, which includes everything from our independent living to our compassionate Alzheimer’s care services.

Alzheimer’s disease takes a toll on personality and behavioral changes which can be difficult to understand and cope with. Read on to find the healthy and effective ways to care for your loved one if they’re struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

  • Daily planning
    Try to stay consistent by keeping general daily tasks at the same time every day. Also, keep in mind the abilities of the person you are caring for when planning a daily routine. Watch and see what they are capable of. If they seem frustrated, then reach out to help.
    • Plan activities for the time of day they are at their best
    • Take note of how tired the person becomes after certain activities
    • Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks more manageable 
  • Keep them engaged
    Having the person you are caring for interact with stimulating activities will improve their decision making, fine motor skills, and memory. Some of these activities include:
    • Exploring the outdoors: Enjoying the fresh air by gardening and taking a stroll around the neighborhood can provide increased physical health as well as a heightened sense of sight, sound, smell, and touch. 
    • Recalling: Going through old photos or home videos of your loved one and their family can help stimulate old memories and increase comfortability. Having familiar music and scents can contribute to positive feelings and the recall of memory.
    • Crafting: Developing a craft or a hobby with the one you’re caring for taps into their creativity and helps to heighten memory recognition.
    • Exercising: Staying mobile when they are capable is important to minimize restlessness and promote structure.
  • Keep things simple
    It’s important to ask one question at a time with patience and understanding since they may have trouble understanding the question. Introduce visual prompts to help clarify what they need.

    You can also reduce distractions at mealtime and during conversations to make it easier for the person to focus.
  • Visit with family and friends
    Spending time with those who are closest with the one you are caring for is essential for coping with memory loss. At times, they may not always remember who their visitors are, but the company is healthy.

    Share some of these tips with those who are visiting:
    • Be calm and quiet and address the person by their name
    • Remind the person who you are
    • Don’t argue if the person is confused, and be patient
    • Don’t address the person as a child. Speak to them like any other friend or family member 
  • Stay empathetic
    Caring for someone requires a great deal of compassion and understanding, especially for caregivers of an individual with memory loss. Always strive to listen and watch for nonverbal cues and body language, then respond appropriately.
  • Communicate with medical professionals
    Telling a doctor the behavioral patterns you see at home are important factors that may not be caught during an examination. Have an open and honest conversation about the person you are caring for in order to better their experience and provide them with the medication they need.
  • Create safety
    The more severe a person’s memory loss grows, the more judgment and problem-solving skills are impaired. To promote safety:
    • Use locks on cabinets that contain anything potentially dangerous
    • Prevent falls by avoiding clutter and installing handrails in common areas
    • Take fire precautions by having a fire extinguisher accessible along with fresh batteries in smoke alarms
  • Tell, don’t ask
    Have an open dialogue concerning how the person you are caring for is feeling and what they need. However, avoiding a situation where a loved one may not be able to come up with an answer is important. If you ask them “Are you hungry?” they may say no, but should eat. This factor plays an important role in keeping consistency. 
  • Let things go
    Times may get frustrating when behavior grows to be embarrassing or disruptive, but it may not actually be harmful. Protect the person you are caring for by giving them some element of freedom and control to make their own choices.
  • Plan for the future
    There may come a time when the status of the memory loss grows to a point where professional memory care in a residential setting is required. As their current caregiver, planning financially as well as researching Alzheimer’s care facilities in your area is a good start.

Getting Additional Help

Whenever you are the caregiver for someone in your family, it can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself, or difficult to reach out for more help. Don’t be afraid to reach out for additional Alzheimer’s help. 

  • Accept support
    Many family caregivers are hesitant to reach out for help because they do not want to burden anyone. Some key things to think about:
    • It is important to say yes to those who are willing to help because there are times when you’ll certainly need it. Have a list of things people can do to help you when they reach out.
    • According to WebMD, caregivers who experience high stress levels during moderate to severe stages could lead to anticipatory grief. Talking with someone can help these caregivers understand what they are feeling and help them to develop strategies to cope.
  • Check with a doctor first
    Behavioral problems may have an underlying medical problem. It’s important to reach out for professional help or to dementia care facilities immediately. Some of the side effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s could be relieved with medication or treatment.
  • Outside resources
    You are not alone. There are many others looking for Alzheimer’s help. Support groups can connect you with individuals in similar situations. Here at Water’s Edge of Bradenton, we have meetings for support groups of those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Our Services for Alzheimer’s Care

Promoting the lifestyle your loved ones deserve is what we are all about at Water’s Edge of Bradenton. To hear more about our dementia care facilities, or to discover all that we can provide in our community, reach out to us today!