Caregiver Wanted: Because over 5,000,000 people in the United States currently are impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia, there is a great need for successful dementia caregivers.
If you or someone you know is caring for an individual impacted by dementia, follow these tips to become a better dementia caregiver.
Caring for someone with dementia is challenging. It doesn’t matter if you are a nursing assistant working in a home care agency or the family member of someone with dementia; working with dementia patients is difficult, taxing, and at times, you can feel hopeless.
However, suppose you better understand dementia as a disease and know how to care for those who have it. In that case, you’ll be more likely to get better satisfaction and happiness from working with dementia. Working with dementia patients can be rewarding, especially if you celebrate the little wins. Use these tips below to help improve your care of dementia patients.
Use Patient Communication
An essential aspect of home care for seniors is using communication that is patient and supportive. For example, all communication should be positive and respectful. When working with patients who have dementia, it’s essential to:
- Take the time to explain yourself clearly.
- Wait for the individual to respond.
- Break more complex information down into smaller parts for easier understanding.
- Repeat phrases as needed but in a patient manner.
No one wants to feel as though they’re being talked down to. Regardless of the extent of dementia, it’s important to remember that your patients are likely just as frustrated as you are. It would help if you were patient, kind, and willing to work with that individual because they are, in fact, human beings. Communication is crucial and can make or break your relationship with your patient.
Implement Proper Behavior Management
A large part of being a successful dementia caregiver is implementing proper behavior management. Now, managing behavior does not mean that you are micromanaging the individual. Good behavior management means that you understand your patient’s triggers and know how to de-escalate the situation if things get out of hand.
For example, many individuals are triggered when there is pain, loss of control, fear, anger, frustration, or even boredom. As an in-home caregiver, you should get to know your patient and know exactly what could trigger them. That way, you can learn how to reduce these negative behaviors and take control of the situation.
It’s vital that you still treat that individual as a human being when you’re managing behavior. Behavior management goes hand in hand with successful communication. You need to talk calmly with the individual if they are elevated and listen to what they have to say to figure out what is causing them to be stressed. If you can figure out the source of the trigger, you can de-escalate.
Get Help When Necessary
It’s important to understand that you don’t need to care for dementia patients by yourself. The most successful dementia treatments are those that are run by a well-trained dementia team. Not only does the teamwork together to support their patients, but they can support each other emotionally as they go through the ups and downs of caring for dementia patients.
For example, family members should never have to be alone as they care for their loved ones with dementia. There are many support groups, home care nursing services, and in-home providers to help take care of the individual with dementia.
Further, the Alzheimer’s Association has many resources to refer to if you’re looking for homecare caregivers or other services and support systems.
Understand the Stages of Dementia
One of the best ways to care for someone with dementia is to understand the stages of dementia and how much you need to compensate for their level of functioning. As a dementia caregiver, you need to know how to promote the patient’s independence and emotional well-being.
By understanding the stages of dementia, the in-home care provider can provide the right level of challenge and compensatory care. Dementia caregivers should also keep in mind that the level of care will change even daily depending on the level of dementia that the person is impacted by. For example, dementia caregivers may need to change their approach to gain trust from the individual with dementia and support that individual daily.
Celebrate the Wins (Especially the Little Ones)
It’s well known that caring for those with dementia can be difficult. However, if you celebrate the wins and acknowledge the progress made, even if it’s just a little bit, you will find that caring for someone with dementia can be very rewarding.
A large part of this is accepting what is and knowing that regardless of how much progress that person is making, you make a difference in their lives. After all, your job as a dementia caregiver is to make that person’s life as meaningful as possible.
For example, you can take the individual out to the garden to get some sunshine, play a card game that you know the individual enjoyed when they were younger, or try to facilitate a meeting with the individual and their family members even if the individual won’t remember them being there. Odds are, these positive experiences will give the individual joy, which is a win.
TLC Home Care is one of the most talented, knowledgeable, and prepared agencies to work for. When you get to the point of searching different nursing agencies, you want to start with TLC Home Care.