To love and care for someone with dementia can be difficult at times. However, it shouldn't feel like a heartache every time they say or do something wrong. It's important to remember that the person you love is still there with you, even though it may be hard to reach that personal connection in the same way you used to.
As cognitive abilities deteriorate, people living with dementia often lose a sense of who they are. That is why it is important that they have the ones they love most standing by their side to help them through it when the world they know seems lost.
Top 5 Things to Remember When You Love Someone With Dementia
Infographic provided by Senior Next
1. Don't Be Hard On Them
When caring for someone with dementia, at times it can feel frustrating. However, arguing will get you nowhere - you have to learn to arm yourself with patience. Patience is truly the key when you love someone with dementia. You must approach each situation with a calm demeanour and friendly, approachable body language. Download our free dementia guide to learn about the 5 S's which can help make communication easier.
2. You're Not Alone
You are not alone, there are 47 million people in the world living with Dementia with many of their caregivers being loved ones or family members. When you are struggling to care for someone, the first step you can take to help yourself is to admit that you need help. Reach out to nearby relatives or friends that may be willing to lend a helping hand.
3. Take Care Of Yourself Too
A lot of caregivers are so focused on attending to the needs of those they care for, they often neglect their own health. In order to avoid harming your own physical and mental health, remember to prioritise your own needs. Make sure to nurture your own body and mind by doing things such as getting enough rest, exercising regularly and eating healthily.
4. Don't Take Anything Personally
One symptom of dementia is sometimes a difficulty with controlling impulses. Combined with reduced communication options, they may resort to communicating in different forms. Whether it be throwing things, crying out or banging on a table to express emotion, you must remember to try and not take it personally. Think instead about what might be happening to make them feel this way. Confusion can also lead to the person with dementia feeling agitated as they don't understand where they are, or even who you are, so taking things personally can sometimes make a situation worse.
5. Learn As Much As You Can
It will make it more difficult for you to take care of someone with dementia if you don't educate yourself. Once you acquire a certain level of knowledge, you'll find it easier to empathise and by knowing the ins and outs of the disease it will help you to structure the care you provide.