A diagnosis of dementia often comes with misconceptions on the part of people who aren’t fully informed about the aspects of the disease process. Seniors with cognitive impairment may feel a wide range of negative emotions, from disbelief, anxiety, and depression to lowered self-esteem. Living with dementia symptoms and understanding how the condition progresses may lead to a failure to thrive. However, there are ways family members can empower seniors with dementia and enhance their quality of life.
1. Continue Family & Social Relationships
Living with cognitive impairment doesn’t mean your senior loved one won’t appreciate interacting with family members, friends, and people in the community. In fact, cutting ties or distancing yourself from your loved one increases the likelihood he or she will experience depression and loneliness. Include your loved one in family get-togethers, and accompany him or her to social gatherings if necessary to boost his or her wellbeing.
For families living in Richmond, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
2. Learn to Listen
When having a conversation with your loved one, listen to what he or she is trying to convey. Your loved one may lose the ability to express him or herself clearly. However, note other clues that might indicate your loved one has a particular need. When dementia progresses to the point where your parent cannot find the words to appropriately express what he or she is trying to share, avoid the urge to correct or judge. Pictograph cards might help your loved one convey his or her thoughts when words fail.
3. Stimulate the Brain
Numerous studies indicate keeping the mind stimulated builds new pathways between neurons, which then navigate around damaged areas. Encourage your loved one to learn a new skill. Perhaps he or she enjoys puzzles or crafts. Change the activities daily to challenge your parent’s cognitive abilities.
Researching different mentally stimulating activities for seniors can be an overwhelming task. Caring for senior loved ones 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 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.
4. Simplify Tasks
As thought processes slow or become disconnected, seniors with dementia need to find different ways to process information. Whether your loved one is helping in the kitchen or lending you a hand with household chores, break the tasks into steps that set him or her up for success. Allow your loved one to complete one step before expecting him or her to achieve the next, and praise each accomplishment.
5. Allow Choices
Rather than determining what your loved one might wear for the day or what foods might be part of his or her next meal, provide two options for your parent to choose from. This way, your loved one maintains some measure of control over his or her life, which can provide a sense of empowerment. Offer choices for activities as well. Your loved one might prefer watching an old movie with you instead of taking a walk around the block.
6. Implement Orientation Techniques
As dementia progresses, older adults often have difficulty comprehending location and time. A talking alarm clock will tell your parent whether it’s morning, afternoon, or night along with the current time, month, date, and year. During general conversations, you might also casually drop helpful hints or reminders to help your loved one stay oriented.
Keeping a loved one with dementia occupied can be challenging, but engaging in a variety of daily activities is important for boosting confidence and staving off cognitive decline. 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 care Richmond, VA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To learn more about our highly trained caregivers, call us at (804) 207-4746.