Dementia in elderly people is a condition that deteriorates their cognitive function progressively. According to WHO, around 55 million people are suffering from dementia, with over 60% living in low- and middle-income countries.
Caring for elderly people suffering from this neurodegenerative disease is not an easy job. People can become stressed and emotionally affected when they see their elderly loved one’s physical, cognitive, and functional abilities deteriorating over time as this disease has no cure yet.
So, it is highly likely that they may feel burnout. But various strategies can aid a caregiver and make the caregiving journey rewarding. Let’s look at some of these tips for taking extra care of seniors with dementia.
Ensure to Set a Routine for Daily Tasks
A senior citizen with dementia will have it worse if there is no set routine. The elderly with dementia can have aggressive mood swings if they don’t know what to do. With, a set routine for day-to-day activities, they will know what to expect at a given time daily and don’t need to face any uncertain situations throughout the day.
Also, it has been noted that the elderly with dementia are more comfortable with a daily routine set for them. This is because they are more attuned to the element of familiarity provided by the daily routine. Doing the same activities daily calms and reduce the feeling of being lost in them.
Use a GPS Tracking Device
A GPS-tracking device is ideal to keep a senior with dementia safe while maintaining their independence. This device can be used to locate or pinpoint the area where the person who is wearing it is in real time.
These devices are quite beneficial as they help to track the movement of an elderly person who is suffering from dementia, in case they get lost. Their loved ones can find them via wayfinding as these devices work as safety measures.
Make the Environment Safe Around Them
Elderly citizens with dementia tend to wander, if not attended properly. This can lead to serious consequences like accidents or injuries. So, the primary caregiver must make the environment around them as safe as possible.
They can do so by installing grab rails on staircases and in the bathroom. Removing all litter on the floor is also a good idea as seniors may fall due to some objects on the floor. Finally having a home security system is also necessary in case the caregiver isn’t present in the home.
Try to be Flexible with Their Choices
A senior citizen with dementia becomes more dependent as time passes. The primary caregiver must stay flexible and adapt to the situations as needed to reduce frustration or burnout.
For example, if the patient likes to eat the same food daily, try to make similar foods on different occasions. If they don’t like to exercise too often, then consider lowering the number of days or time for exercise.
Introduce Them to Social Events or Gatherings
Elderly citizens with dementia need enough sensory stimulation and experience. The best way to do so is by them interacting and socializing with others. But the caregivers must control the interaction so that it doesn’t overstimulate them.
Another option is to ask loved ones to visit the elderly from time to time and interact with them. This type of interaction can help the patient mentally and even stop the feeling of isolation in them.
Try to Reduce Their Frustration
Senior citizens with dementia tend to get frustrated if they are to deal with complex or difficult tasks. To ease their frustration the primary caregiver needs to involve with them. They need to make sure that the elderly one does as many tasks as possible with the least amount of assistance.
For example, he/she might be cutting fruits. So, there is no need to handhold them or guide them on how to cut fruits. One only needs to keep an eye out for them to make sure that they don’t injure themselves.
Support Them Emotionally
One of the major things that a caregiver needs to deal with is the surge of different emotions in an elderly suffering from dementia. Feelings of frustration, denial, disbelief, and fear are common in patients suffering from dementia.
The primary caregiver should let the elderly express their emotions and encourage them to do things that add meaning to their life. They should also try to console them and stand with them when they are feeling down.
Being a caregiver for the elderly can be tough. Follow the above-mentioned tips to ease your life during the caregiving journey and ensure that your loved ones get the proper care they deserve.
What are the things you need to consider while providing care to the elderly suffering from dementia?
Here is a list of things you need to keep in mind while taking care of an elderly one with dementia:
- Let them have as much control in their life.
- Make sure that they have their personal space.
- Prepare activities for them throughout the day.
- Try to bond with them emotionally.
What qualities must you have to take care of a senior with dementia?
Here are a few skills you need to have to provide good care to a senior suffering from dementia:
- Time management
- Positive attitude
How to make a senior citizen with dementia happy?
Listed below are a few things you can do to make a senior suffering from dementia happy:
- Give the senior a massage with lotion.
- Brush their hair from time to time.
- Talk with them about their favorite things.
- Take photos and make an album for them.
- Play domino or checkers with them.
What are the things not to do with seniors suffering from dementia?
Seniors with dementia need proper care. One shouldn’t do or say something that can upset them. Here is a list of things one should avoid while dealing with seniors suffering from dementia:
- Try not to ask about something that the senior remembers or not.
- If their loved ones are dead, don’t try to make the seniors remember them.
- Don’t discuss topics that can upset them very much.
- Don’t try to make them do anything that they hate to do.
- Make sure not to argue about something.
Can GPS tracking devices be helpful when taking care of a senior with dementia?
Yes, with a tracking device like GPS in place, the caregiver can know where the senior is in real-time in case they get lost. These devices also work as a safety measure in case they get into an accident.