Caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be difficult, but you must maintain a positive attitude and find ways to offer reassurance and high-quality care. If you’re unsure how to speak with your parent, ask his or her doctor and other experts for advice. Below are some of the things you should avoid saying to a loved one with dementia and alternative strategies for each instance.
1. “It’s Your Fault”
Poor thinking is a symptom of dementia, and it can affect your loved one’s actions. Instead of blaming your parent or pointing out when he or she is at fault, think of ways to help him or her manage daily issues. For example, you can develop a system that prevents your loved one from misplacing frequently used objects, such as the remote control or a cell phone.
2. “Do You Remember?”
One of the earliest signs of dementia is memory loss. Seniors can forget short-term information as well as familiar things, such as the names of their family members and friends. Don’t ask your loved one to remember. Instead, use positive activities and strategies to trigger past memories, such as watching a classic film, listening to favorite songs, or cooking family recipes.
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 New Hampshire 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.
3. “That Person Is Deceased”
It’s common for aging adults with dementia to believe deceased family members are still alive. You should never tell your parent otherwise. Reminding your loved one that a family member has passed away could cause him or her to become upset, frightened, and even more confused. The best way to handle questions about the deceased is to change the subject or say the person is away on vacation or out running an errand.
4. “You Can’t Do That”
Seniors don’t need constant reminders of what they cannot accomplish due to dementia. When your parent’s skills decrease, simplify everyday tasks and hobbies, as opposed to pointing out his or her inability to handle the usual activities. Keeping your loved one physically, mentally, and emotionally active could slow the progression of dementia and allow him or her to maintain independence for longer.
A professional caregiver can provide regular cognitive stimulation and help your loved one stay active. Families looking for top-rated elderly home 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. Bad Memories
Never bring up topics and situations that upset your parent. Reminding him or her of bad memories could cause adverse reactions, such as verbal or physical outbursts. To reduce the risk of combative behavior in your loved one, avoid triggering bad memories. When going through photo albums or sharing stories from the past, choose happier times that might enhance your loved one’s mood and help him or her recall happy events.
6. Disrespectful Language
Your loved one deserves to maintain a sense of dignity, and you should always address him or her with respect. Although dementia can impact cognitive health, you should always assume your loved one is listening. There will be moments when he or she fully comprehends the situation, and you should avoid using a condescending tone or disrespectful phrases. Using negative language could harm your loved one’s self-esteem.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. New Hampshire families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (603) 471-3004.