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10 Ways Caregivers Can Help Patients With Dementia Feel More Independent

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10 Ways Caregivers Can Help Patients With Dementia Feel More Independent

While the caregivers don’t know what caused dementia in the life of their beloved friend or family, one thing is very clear: the patient needs to be cared for and loved. These patients find themselves trapped in their head and unable to perform the simplest of tasks. 

You can make their confusion disappear by performing these simple steps that ensure a free and independent lifestyle in the patient:

1. Make a routine:

Making a routine is one of the best prompts for a Dementia patient. Caregivers can chalk out a flexible routine and make it easy for the patient to follow. When you act on patterns of behavior, they become a security and comforting aid for someone who is having trouble remembering the slightest of things. 

The best way to make a routine for your loved one is by creating a soft board or bulletin board. Use the board to pin reminders, ideas, schedules or timetables. Visual reminders are easy and fun to follow. Caregivers can make it more entertaining by highlighting the activities planned for the day as a surprise for the patient. 

2. Labeling:

Normal people can tell peanut butter and jam apart very easily, but your loved one with Dementia might have problems. Make it easier for them by putting name tags and labels. You can also put post-its on the refrigerator to remind them that dinner is on the top shelf and dessert is in the blue box!

If the patient stays alone, you can put labels for tasks like let out the dog or put the trash out at 10 PM. They will find it helpful to complete daily tasks by your labels every day. 

3. Clocks:

A simple clock can also trigger negative thoughts in a dementia patient. Since they have trouble remembering days or dates, you should place a clock with dates and month in each room. Knowledge of days or dates can also trigger the memory of an important event in the mind of that person. 

Frequent triggers and reminders of days and dates in a person can improve their orientation and help them lead a happy and independent routine. 

4. Be gentle:

When you are around someone with Dementia, it is a little problematic to face their agitation. You cant put yourself in their shoes, where they are having a hard time remembering what day it is and of which month. The best thing you can do for the person is to be gentle and reassure them that everything is under control. 

If you find the patient feeling confused or agitated, lead them on to something they will remember easily or redirect their thoughts to a happier memory. Avoid trying to convince them that you are right and they remember wrong! Your expression of gentleness and care will relax their minds and lead them on to have a good day where their mind will be better poised to welcome more thoughts. 

5. Maintain backups:

If the patient is reportedly wandering or going out of the house at night, you must have a mechanism in place to minimize the damage. Firstly, install high locks in their doors, because many patients can’t think of reaching for a higher lock or thinking that a lock is present above their eye level. Next, you should sew ID or name labels in all their clothes. 

In the event of wandering, you will be able to track the patient through the ID label, or you can have a wrist tracker on the patient. 

6. Use technology:

Technology can now help you care for your loved one without the least cost. Consider setting up regular reminders on the patient’s phone and home phone. Call and leave messages for the patient. You can find many services in the app store of a phone or tablet that set up easy reminders. 

Examples of some reminders include taking the medication, attending a gathering or taking a shower. You can also video call the patient and remind them of an event or chore easily. 

7. Stacking:

If your patient forgets where they put things, you should stack the most important things together. Things like toiletries, medicine for each time of the day, clothes, shoes and socks can be stacked and stored together to make it easy for the patient. 

You can also help them place keys, glasses, and wallet together, so they have no trouble heading out of the house. 

8. Explain in step:

You should explain each task in simple, easy steps for the patient. It is too overwhelming to perform a task in one go for someone with dementia. Break down tasks in short steps and don’t hurry the person into finishing quickly. Things like cooking or cleaning may take a while to master, but in the beginning, you will have to supervise every task. 

Make notes of important steps in each task for the patient. Recipe books are a great idea for someone with dementia, and if they are at work, you can paste print-outs of steps the person has to follow. 

9. Counter sleep deprivation:

One area which is majorly affected in the patient’s mind is their sleeping cycle. You will find that the patient gets increasingly restless due to their condition. This is not good, because sleep deprivation and nightmares affect the cognitive behavior of the person. To provide them with more comfort, you can place their medication on the bedside counter with a reminder to take before sleep. If they awaken from a nightmare, you must have a mechanism in place to help them calm down and get back to reality. It takes trial and error, but the experience will teach you how to handle this condition. 

You will ease the following day by ensuring a good night’s sleep for the patient.

10. Enlist family and friends:

No caregiver can deal with a patient alone. Braintest reports that one of the biggest reasons of burnout is a tough routine, handling patient and work altogether. Enlist friends and family members to take care of the patient as a team. 

The patient will have an easy life with lots of people to guide them in daily tasks. In the process, you will also safeguard the well-being of everyone involved. 

Last word:

Dementia is not an easy case for any family. Caring for a patient can be consuming, and the caregiver must have a routine to perform their tasks as well. The steps mentioned above will guide you in the process and minimize the complications in the way. Take these measures to enhance the quality of your lives, and if you have any tips, our community would love to hear from you. 

ABOUT Alycia Gordan:

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia

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