Your life may change quite a bit once you start caring for a senior loved one who has dementia, and you need to start making some changes now if you want the coming years to be as stress-free as possible. With a little bit of planning and some determination, you can provide the best possible care without overexerting yourself. Here are a few tips that might help you overcome some of the most common challenges new dementia caregivers face.
1. Never Ignore the Symptoms
The symptoms of dementia never go away, and you need to face them head on if you want to make any progress. Whenever you notice a new symptom, immediately contact your loved one’s doctor to explore treatment options. Some symptoms can be minimized by taking the proper medication or making a few healthy lifestyle changes.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Knoxville families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide dedicated and compassionate in-home caregivers who are trained in our holistic Balanced Care Method, which was designed to encourage seniors to exercise often, eat nutritious foods, maintain strong social ties, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
2. Validate Your Loved One’s Reality
Forcing your loved one back into your reality may make him or her anxious, confused, and angry. Many specialists suggest validating and embracing the new reality until the senior comes back independently.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Loved One’s Physical Health
There are many reasons seniors with dementia should continue to exercise for as long as possible. Regularly engaging in physical activity can help with mood swings, memory loss, an irregular sleep schedule, and a lack of appetite. After speaking with a physiotherapist, you might want to have your loved one try activities such as dancing, going for short walks, gardening, or doing light housework.
Seniors who need minor help with tasks such as gardening can benefit from professional in-home care. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Knoxville respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
4. Organize Your Loved One’s Financial Affairs Early On
Most seniors with dementia get to a point where they can no longer take care of their own finances. If you caught your loved one’s dementia early, discuss how his or her finances are going to be managed in the future. You may also want to have your loved one fill out paperwork such as a will and power of attorney while he or she still has the mental faculties to understand those decisions.
5. Brace Yourself for Confrontations
As your loved one’s dementia progresses, you may find yourself in at least a few situations where you feel personally attacked. During those moments, you need to remember your loved one can’t control his or her actions. Dementia may make your loved one say and do things that are completely out of character, and you won’t be able to properly care for him or her if you take everything to heart.
6. Take Breaks
Fighting over everyday activities such as taking a shower or eating a meal can be exhausting. Taking a step back to calm down can de-escalate the situation and give you time to gather your thoughts. In some cases, a short break of 15 or 20 minutes can make a world of difference.
7. Tend to Your Own Needs
Family caregivers need to know when it is time to ask for help. Letting a family member or professional caregiver look after your loved one for a few days every month gives you a chance to run errands, meet up with old friends, or spend some time relaxing on your own. Dementia caregivers who refuse to ask for help may compromise their own health and happiness.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Knoxville Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, call one of our professional Care Managers at (865) 851-9730 today.