The Dos And Don'ts Of Caring For Somebody With Dementia

Posted on: 26 February 2015

If a loved one suffers from dementia—a mental condition that's common in old age and results in problems with memory and reasoning—then of course you want to help in any way you can. At the same time, however, caring for a person with dementia can pose some unique challenges. In many cases, the best option for all involved is to seek help from an assisted living home. In the meantime, there are some important dos and don'ts you should be aware of when caring for your loved one.

DO Fall-Proof the Home

Those with dementia often have decreased sensory perception and impaired judgement, so they're more prone to falling and injuring themselves in the home. As such, you should take any necessary steps to help "fall-proof" the house as much as possible. This means making sure there's plenty of lighting throughout the house, keeping walkways clear at all times, and reducing clutter both inside and out. Furthermore, make sure your loved one has a pair of non-slip shoes or slippers that can be worn in the house at all times.

DO Handle Mood Swings Properly

Sadly, people with dementia often encounter many mood swings throughout the day—and determining the cause of mood swings isn't always easy. Often times, those with dementia have mood swings because they're unable to properly communicate when something is bothering them. For instance, your loved one may experience a mood swing because he or she is hungry, tired, or uncomfortable (too hot or too cold). Always be sure to consider what could be causing a mood swing so you can fix the problem.

DON'T Take Anything Personally

Finally, all caregivers should know that they can't take anything said to them by a person with dementia personally. Unfortunately, dementia patients tend to say some things that may be construed as rude or hurtful, but they're usually a reaction to some form of pain or discomfort As such, these things should never be taken personally—especially by family members, friends, and other close loved ones who are trying to care for somebody with dementia.

Seeing a loved one with dementia is never easy, and it takes somebody special to care for somebody with dementia. By keeping these important dos and don'ts in mind along the way, you can provide him or her with the quality of life that's deserved—at least until you decide to find an assisted living home.