Dementia can be an extremely difficult condition to deal with, both for the individual themselves, as well as for the family of those who suffer from it. It can be hard to understand what is happening to our loved ones, and there is not much in the way of educating the public in the best ways to care for dementia. There are some important things to remember when managing dementia, whether it is that of a loved one, or simply someone we interact with. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind.
1. Don’t get mad, they’re not doing it on purpose.
It is not uncommon for family of someone who suffers from dementia to have to confront the reality of violent outbursts or behavior, and it can be very frustrating trying to understand why the people we love have started acting this way. The thing to keep in mind is that they are reacting out of fear. Dementia can be a very frightening experience for those suffering from it, and often this fear results in outburst, sometimes even violence. The thing to do in these situations is to figure out what is causing this reaction, and do your best to mitigate its influence. This will be different for every person, but it’s important that we work to understand the problems faced by those suffering, and that we never force them to do anything, or try to push the issue.
2. Redirection over reality orientation.
Dementia patients often find themselves confused about where they are, or what time they are in, sometimes thinking that it is a completely different year than it actually is. Many people try to argue with their loved ones when this occurs, trying to convince them of where and when they are. This is generally not what you want to do, and will just cause the individual to become more confused and argumentative. The best course of actions in these situations is to redirect them to something else, such as an activity or alternate subject. This will calm them down, and make them at ease until they are able to naturally reorient themselves.
3. Be reassuring.
For those with dementia, especially in the early stages, it can be very embarrassing when they start to be unable to care for themselves, or manage their day-to-day lives. If your loved one is beginning to exhibit signs of dementia, it is best to ease into the conversation, and you never want to become angry or argue with them, as it will only put them on the defensive and cause them to deny their symptoms even more vehemently.
Dealing with dementia is not easy, and it can be hard to watch the course of dementia in those we are close to. If someone you know is suffering from dementia, it’s worth doing some research to really understand the disorder. By working to understand, and by following the above tips, it will be much easier to care for dementia in a loved one.