The Dos and Don'ts of Dementia Care

Caring for someone who has dementia can be a challenge.

If your loved one has mid or late stage dementia, then we don't need to tell you how challenging it can be to care for them. People who are suffering from later stages of dementia are often sad, angry, afraid, paranoid and confused, and that can sometimes make them aggressive, oppositional and sometimes even violent. At Salem Lutheran Homes & Rehabilitation Center, we are proud to offer you a safe, caring memory care facility in Elk Horn, but we don't stop there. Our goal is to help you regain your relationship with your loved one and learn how to communicate with them effectively. That's why we've come up with a few dementia-related behaviors, and the dos and don'ts of responding to them.

Situation #1. Confusion

Dementia damages an individual's cognitive functions, resulting in memory loss and confusion. Sometimes, people with dementia will say things like, "I don't live here," or "I need to go home," even when they are home.

  • Don't: Avoid trying to reason or explain away the situation. You can't always reason with someone who is suffering from dementia. Often times, you can make your loved one even more confused when you try to explain the situation.
  • Do: Showing your loved one tangible reminders about where they are and why they are there, like family photos on the wall or their clothes in the dresser, can help. However, in some situations, you're better off simply redirecting your loved one.

Situation #2. Aggression

When you're loved one starts acting aggressively, whether it be in their speech or actions, it's important to remember that they aren't doing it on purpose. There is almost always a reason an aggressive response is triggered, whether it be confusion, discomfort or unfamiliarity.

  • Don't: Do not try to forcibly restrain your loved one or engage in an argument with them. This will only make matters worse.
  • Do: The first thing you should do when your loved one starts acting aggressively is to try to determine what triggered that behavior in the first place. Then, after you've made certain that they aren't harming themselves or anyone else, redirect them by going on a walk with them, giving them a tasty snack or anything else that might make them happy.

Situation #3. Poor Judgement

When the brain starts to deteriorate, it affects your loved one's ability to think clearly, leaving them open to errors in thinking, poor judgment and even delusions.

  • Don't: Avoid trying to argue with your loved one, and whatever you do, do not accuse them of not being capable of making decisions or thinking clearly. Any response that is doubtful or accusatory could lead to anger and defensiveness.
  • Do: Always be reassuring and encouraging whenever possible, and do your part to try to minimize your loved one's embarrassment and frustration by offering to help.

Visit us online to learn more about our memory care facility in Elk Horn.

Caring for someone with dementia can be a challenge for even the most prepared family members. At Salem Lutheran Homes & Rehabilitation Center, we provide compassionate care in a warm, friendly environment. Visit us online now to learn more about our memory care.

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