The Alzheimer Society of Canada reports more than 400,000 seniors in Canada are currently living with dementia. If one of these individuals is an aging parent you care for on a daily basis, it can be beneficial to have a better idea of how you can effectively offer the type of assistance that’s needed. Below, you’ll find six tips to keep in mind to help you achieve this goal.
1. Establish a Clear Routine
A predictable routine often keeps older adults with dementia calmer while also minimizing confusion. As you come up with a daily care schedule that works best for your parent, consider the following factors:
• Times of day when your parent is better able to handle more demanding tasks, such as bathing
• What seems to calm him or her down (e.g., playing music while eating or having a simple conversation while getting dressed)
• Your loved one’s level of alertness throughout the day so you can plan activities appropriately
Dementia can be challenging for seniors, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Edmonton seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
2. Remove Home Dangers
Get into the habit of routinely inspecting your parent’s home to look for possible hazards that need to be addressed. For instance, you might need to remove or secure throw rugs, put away sharp knives or power tools, or put a mat in the bathtub so it’s not slippery.
Having a professional caregiver nearby can give you peace of mind about your loved one’s wellbeing. 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 senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
3. Limit Choices
Avoid asking open-ended questions, which can cause confusion in older adults with dementia. For example, instead of asking “What do you want to wear today?” bring out two or three outfits that are appropriate for the time of year and ask, “Which one of these would you like to wear today?” Do the same thing when asking your parent for input about meal choices and other daily tasks.
4. Allow Reasonable Independence
Providing daily care for a parent with dementia doesn’t mean completely reversing roles or doing everything for him or her. Encourage your parent to remain as independent as possible by only providing the type of daily assistance that’s needed. Doing so can also decrease your loved one’s risk of becoming overly dependent on you.
5. Use Memory Prompts
Communication is especially important when providing everyday care for a parent with dementia. Once you start to notice memory lapses, it can be helpful to provide gentle memory prompts when talking to your parent. For instance, you might use people’s names instead of vague references like “him” or “her” when talking about other family members or friends. In addition, to avoid triggering combativeness or frustration, resist the temptation to correct every minor factual error your loved one makes.
6. Use Appropriate Technology
Technology can provide some added peace of mind for both you and your parent with dementia, although tech-based products tend to work better when dementia-related symptoms are mild or moderate. Possibilities include:
• Wireless door alarms if wandering is a concern
• Night vision cameras that can be used to check in on your parent remotely
• Mobile monitoring services in case urgent assistance is needed
• A smart home assistant like Amazon’s Echo to allow for the use of voice-activated features
• Smart lights that automatically turn on when motion is detected to mitigate fall risk
• Auto-shutoff devices that can be installed on the stove if you’re worried about your parent leaving burners or the oven on
The responsibilities that come with caring for a loved one with dementia can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Edmonton in-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (780) 490-7337.