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People Living with Dementia: Providing Them with Kindness and Quiet Dignified Caregiving

February 04, 2017 in: caring for people living with dementia,

Living with dementia is really rough and for family members it becomes hard to recall the family member or friend like they were prior to the disease making them more and more confused, forgetful, difficult to deal with and agitated with each passing day. The critical thing to know is that the person is a grownup, not a child and they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Respecting your family members desires regarding keeping the same lifestyle as the one they had prior to coming down with dementia will create an ongoing setting of respect, dignity, comfort and kindness. Featured here are several strategies to follow to give your loved one living with dementia a definite ongoing feeling of being treated with the dignity they deserve:

Don’t Talk Down - The first thing to remember and then follow through on is to treat the person as an adult and not a child. Do not talk to your loved one like you’re the parent and they are the child. Because of your loved one’s reduced capacity, it is an easy thing to start caring for them and treating them like the are a kid and not grown adult. Be diligent about using a respectful tone and kind words. Make of point of not using the following words: diaper; bib; and potty.  Use terms such as underwear, apron and bathroom instead.

Pose Open-Ended Questions that Create Conversation - Ask the questions that create verbal interaction, not questions that have answers like yes and no.

Employ Fibs When the Real Answer May Cause Problems, Hurt or Outbursts - There will come a time when the true answer might cause anxiety, worries or worse. A loved one living with dementia has continued diminished mental capacity and as it worsens the person’s ability to function each day becomes harder. The best approach is to treat them with extreme kindness and not verbally say certain things, including the truth, when it’s not necessary or when it makes sense to not state the real case of the matter.

Plan Out Positive Trips Away From the House - When a family starts caring for a family member with dementia it’s easy to not leave the house with them when fear of them acting out in public becomes to risky or hard or stress inducing. Do not look at this way, because it is not true. Short trips out and about planned ahead of time can have positive benefits for you and your loved one, plus it will break the routine of being home all the time for everyone.

Smile and Love It - Everyone knows when the jig is up and a loved one living with dementia is not much different. If you act nervous, even if your family member has advanced dementia, they most likely will pick up on it. People living with dementia have virtually no filters, so when a family member acts nervous they will quite possibly pick up on it and say something about it.  Work on staying calm, full of love and be positive. It’s not your fault or theirs they have dementia. Be kind and calm, it will go a long way towards thing staying at an even keel.

At Phoenix, AZ, skilled nursing facility, The Palazzo, we know it is important for caregivers to know stroke rehabilitation very well so you can make arrangements to provide the right level of care your loved one needs after a major stroke.  

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