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Are You A Caregiver in Durham? Here Are 10 Tips for Dementia Caregivers

October 6, 2016

Being a caregiver can be challenging especially when you are caring for your loved one with dementia. Often those with dementia have memory loss, difficulties with problem solving as well as language and thought. There are also personality changes and they are unable to carry out daily tasks. However, there are important tips that will help caregivers cope and support their loved one.

  1. Enlist a support crew. Get the support of family, friends, and neighbors and accept it when it is offered even when you aren’t sure when you may use it.
  2. Knowledge is power. Get advice and support from websites, support groups, online chat rooms and specialists in the field.
  3. Mentally detach yourself when you need to. Dementia patients cannot change their behavior when they have unpredictable mood swings or memory loss. You have to give them space to calm down and detach yourself from the situation.
  4. Be in a good place when you visit. Since a dementia patients moods and personality can be erratic, be prepared for all situations if you are visiting. Try to avoid visiting if you are stressed, tired or not up to it at the moment. Neither of you will benefit if from the visit if you aren’t prepared.
  5. Exercise regularly. Exercising will benefit you and the person you care for and release endorphins which are mood enhancing. It helps to clear the mind and reduce symptoms of sundowning in dementia patients.
  6. Distract and deflect. Do not talk about funerals or others passing even if it was a long time ago. It can be perceived as recent to the patient and may trigger episodes of grief. If you are asked about where a deceased person is, you may find that it is only for a brief moment and move on from the topic quickly.
  7. Encourage the person to socialize. Socializing will make a difference to a person’s mood and mental awareness. Encourage group activities and mix with others since mental stimulation helps. Do know when to back off if the person is not interested in socializing. It is also an opportunity for the caregiver to meet with others and vent, share and support with those in the same situation.
  8. Establish a routine. A regular routine and familiar environment will make the person feel secure. If you plan an outing, choose a familiar place or somewhere that they associate with nice memories. Also, try to visit when it is less crowded or busy.
  9. Prepare for the future. There will come a time when your loved one will no longer be able to be left alone. It is advisable to plan, prepare and think about the future by discussing finances, managing bills and getting powers of attorney.
  10. Look after yourself. You must take care of yourself as a caregiver. Take time out for yourself, have regular breaks and short holidays away when you need them.

Call Acorn for screened in home care givers to assist you loved lines in Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and nearby areas.

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