6 Caregiving Strategies for At-Home Dementia Caregivers

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that about 15 million Americans are caring for senior loved ones with dementia. It’s a task done out of love that can have both wonderful rewards and unexpected challenges. Because dementia-related conditions are often progressive in nature, it’s important to have a good idea of how to manage daily issues when caring for a loved one with dementia at home. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Be Consistent with Routines

Seniors with dementia tend to get confused if their routines at home are suddenly changed. Avoid this potential issue by being as consistent as possible with routines involving:

• Snacks and mealtimes
• Daily grooming and bathing habits
• TV shows your loved one enjoys watching on a regular basis

2. Don’t Sweat the Little Things

Older adults with dementia may forget certain facts, such as specific dates or even the names of certain people and places, when trying to recall family stories or fond memories. Instead of unintentionally frustrating your loved one by correcting errors, let mistakes go and focus on what he or she is trying to share.

Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Rhode Island families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores. 

3. Create a Calm, Peaceful Environment

Clutter can contribute to sensory overload for anyone, but seniors with dementia may find a cluttered house even more personally distressing because things like busy patterns and too many objects and gadgets demanding their attention can be overwhelming at times. Creating a calm, peaceful environment could involve:

• Turning off the TV when it’s not being watched
• Decorating with calm, subtle colors
• Using fragrances that are pleasant but not overwhelming, such as fresh flowers

4. Speak Simply and Clearly

A common mistake family caregivers tend to make when communicating with loved ones with dementia is asking open-ended questions, such as “What would you like for breakfast this morning?” Someone with cognitive impairment may find it difficult to process what’s being said and come up with a response. Instead, reduce your loved one’s anxiety by primarily asking questions requiring simple “yes” or “no” responses.

Caring for a loved one with dementia is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Families looking for top-rated Rhode Island elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

5. Encourage Regular Exercise and Healthy Dietary Habit

A sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for anyone. For someone with dementia, inactivity could contribute to depression or increased cognitive decline. Regular exercise that can be enjoyed in the home boosts circulation to the brain while also helping with balance, coordination, and range of motion. Encouraging healthy eating habits could also provide a boost to your loved one’s brain health.

6. Be Patient

Seniors who have dementia may reach a point where they cannot find their words, which can increase agitation and frustration. For this reason, it’s important to ease your loved one’s mental stress by being patient when interacting with him or her at home. Ways you might do this include:

• Avoiding the temptation to complete your loved one’s sentences
• Being flexible about how long each meal takes
• Allowing your loved one to complete various tasks or participate in activities at a pace that’s comfortable for him or her 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (401) 284-0979 today.