As a caretaker for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may feel a wide range of emotions including sadness, frustration and even anger. It’s normal to be upset by what your loved one is going through, but it’s also important to remember that they are affected, too. Your dementia care will play a tremendous role in your relationship going forward, so finding a healthy balance as early as possible is crucial.
New Generations Offers Dementia Care
At New Generations, we offer memory care and day services for individuals with dementia. Our goal is to provide socialization, stimulation and a life filled with purpose and fun activities for each member. It’s important for us to not only help the individual who attends our facility, but also to help their caretaker. We want to become an extension of your family. We understand the importance of living your own life and maintaining a healthy level of independence while still connecting and caring for your loved one and we’re here to help every step along the way.
Our program offers individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s a safe place to spend the day while you’re working or taking care of other obligations. They will have round-the-clock support from skilled nurses and our dedicated staff, USDA-approved lunches and snacks and medication management. The activities we offer are designed to be fun and preserve problem-solving abilities, retain memories and keep your loved one as active as possible. Since 1998 we have been helping families in Florence, Marion and the surrounding areas of South Carolina find a balance when it comes to dementia care.
Things to Remember
There are quite a few things we recommend keeping in mind when learning to care for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s including:
Needs Will Change
Because dementia is progressive, your loved one will experience a decline over time. Some cases are more severe than others, and all you can do is take it one day at a time. The right support system for both you and your loved one is crucial. Be realistic about what the future holds, and start considering how you’ll care for your loved one when they can no longer perform basic care rituals.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Outside help, whether it’s from a nurse, therapist, New Generations or a good friend is important. By being open about your own needs, you’ll be able to lower stress, cope with difficult emotions and ensure that your time with your loved one is well-spent. You still have your own life to lead. Finding the right resources will allow you to be a good caretaker without sacrificing your job, family or personal life.
Celebrate the Ordinary Moments
Whether it’s making cookies together, going for a walk or watching a movie, embrace all the small moments you can spend with your loved one. Everything you do together is a chance to connect. Embrace the times you have together, and the memories you can still make. Even if they may not remember everything, you will.
Keep Interactions Positive
It can be hard to stay positive when your loved one is moody or doesn’t cooperate. Understand that this is not their choice. They are struggling, too, and your positivity will have an impact even if you don’t see it. Stay upbeat, focus on the present and smile as much as possible.
Practice Good Communication
Quality dementia care is rooted in good communication skills. If you’re feeling frustrated, these steps can help you stay grounded.
- Use short, concise sentences.
- Speak slowly.
- Acknowledge their feelings.
- Avoid arguing or telling them they’re wrong.
- Use physical reassurance – hugs, hand holding, gentle touch, etc. to elicit a response.
Emotions Matter More Than Ever
Individuals with dementia may forget specific events or individuals, but not their personal emotions. How they feel will matter now more than ever. Strive to give them great experiences that will leave a lasting impact, whether it’s the quiet contentment of an evening surrounded by loved ones or an exciting trip to their favorite restaurant.
Take Immediate Action While They’re Competent
After a diagnosis, it’s important to discuss living wills, medical wishes and other things they may not be able to discuss in the future. Keep in mind that individuals with dementia may live for many years after a diagnosis, so this does not mean you are planning for their imminent death, just preparing for the future.
It’s Okay to Mourn Them While They’re Still Alive
You are allowed to hurt. Watching your parent or relative struggle to remember things is very difficult, and there are advanced stages of the disease that may even make them feel like a stranger to you. Do not feel guilty; it’s okay to miss them even though they are still with you.
Therapy Can Help You Process and Manage Stress
A licensed therapist or dementia caretaker support group can help you process all of the changes in your life. You can safely vent your concerns and frustrations, learn how to manage your feelings and take care of your personal health so you can always be there for your loved one.
Education Is the Foundation of Quality Dementia Care
Research as much as you can. The better you understand your loved one’s condition, the better dementia care you can provide. Learning about symptoms before they arise can also help ease some of the fear and anxiety that comes with caring for someone with a progressive disease.
You Can Still Have Fun Together
Dementia does not define a person! They can still enjoy many things like trips to the zoo, going to the park and strolling through shops. Life doesn’t stop after a dementia diagnosis, and that applies to both you and your loved one.
Contact us today at New Generations to learn about our dementia care services. We would love to help you and your loved one navigate their diagnosis and new routines.