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Caring for Aging Family Members with Dementia

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Caring for Aging Family Members with Dementia 5 Tips to Help With Dementia’s Emotional Roller Coaster:

Anyone who has lived with a parent or other aging relative with dementia will tell you how tiring and frustrating it can feel. Whether or not their symptoms are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, those suffering from dementia often act in troubling ways – from intense confusion to fits of temper. But how we respond as caregivers can definitely make our own lives easier.

If your loved one shows signs of dementia, our advanced neurological center in Palm Harbor, Florida provides a program that can slow dementia’s progress or even reverse it. Many of our patients even resume an independent lifestyle. If you’d like to speak with neurologist Dr. Allan Spiegel, M.D. to learn ifour Dementia Treatment Program including Occupational Therapy is right for you or your family member with dementia, simply click here or call 727-787-7077.

Are you doing these 5 important things to help you and your loved one get through the day?

Read more: 5 Tips to Help with Dementia’s Emotional Roller Coaster

Perhaps the greatest challenge of taking care of a parent or other loved one with dementia is coping with their changing behaviors and moods. The 5 tips below will help you to develop a creative and flexible approach to the daily struggles you both face:

1. Keep communications simple and reassuring: Use short sentences and simple words and speak slowly. Repeat your questions, statements or answers if your loved one seems confused. If he or she still doesn’t understand, wait a few minutes, then rephrase what you just said. Keeping a calm demeanor and using a soft, low voice can often head off or deflect your loved one’s irritability.

2. Try to accommodate, not correct your loved ones’ behaviors: If he or she wants to do something unusual, as long as it doesn’t present a danger or lead to a huge mess for you to clean up, help them to achieve it.

3. Suspect pain or other medical causes: Many times loved ones with dementia display odd behaviors or get testy because they’re experiencing pain, but are unable to describe their symptoms. A doctor checkup can sometimes work wonders.

4. Make tasks more manageable: Often, our loved ones with dementia forget how to accomplish simple tasks that they used to complete with ease – leading to frustration. Use gentle reminders
to cue them if they have forgotten a step. It can also help to give visual cues, like pointing to a drawer that contains a pen or screwdriver, for example.

5. Learn how to distract and redirect: If your loved one gets irritated or upset, changing the subject or the environment often helps. For instance, ask him or her to help you with a task or suggest going out for a stroll. It’s important to empathize before you redirect. Try saying something like, “I can see you feel bad right now, and that’s okay. Let’s take a walk around the yard and listen to the birds.”

It’s important to recognize you are not alone. Lots of children and spouses care for loved ones with dementia. Familiarize yourself with important resources and organizations that can help, like your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. But you should also know that sometimes symptoms of dementia can be improved or even reversed with the right kinds of treatment.

At our state-of-the-art Dementia Care Facilities in Palm Harbor, Florida, we offer a Dementia Treatment Program that includes Occupational Therapy to improve mental function and memory. Many of our patients are even able to resume a more independent lifestyle. Neurologist Allan Spiegel, M.D. offers personalized assessments to see whether our Dementia Care Program could be right for your loved one. To schedule an appointment, simply call 727-787-7077.