When you’re a caregiver for a loved one who has dementia, the right attitude is essential. Educating about dementia and what to expect is realistic. It will permit you to maintain some control as a caregiver by knowing what is coming next. Always remember that a person with dementia can't control their behavior.
Tips for caregivers
Being a caregiver is hard, but it can also be rewarding.
Below are some tips for caregivers to help you get through your day:
1. Accept help: Don’t be afraid to accept help when offered from family and friends. Also, support groups for caregivers dealing with dementia patients can be helpful. By joining a support group, it will allow you to vent in a group of people who are going through the same thing that you are. There isn't any judgment, and sometimes you can get ideas. Another caregiver may have a suggestion for a problem that you are dealing with. You can also find out about local dementia and Alzheimer's resources.
2. Always empathize: Your loved one may become confused where they are, and even what period of time they’re living in. Caregiving starts with empathy and compassion. Imagine if you didn’t know who you were or where you were at.
3. Be realistic: Be realistic about what this disease does to a person. Your job is to make sure your loved one is happy, safe and comfortable. Your parent will have bad days and good days. Always focus on the good days and even the moments which are good but don't force them. As the disease progresses, there will be less of the person you know left. Dementia only gets worse over time, and there isn't a cure.
4. Dementia: Although memory loss is the main symptom of dementia, there are other types of dementia that affect the personality instead of the memory. Where the disease affects the brain is what the symptoms will be. A person who was a church-going and never swore in her life could begin to curse. A person who trusted everyone may now trust no one and won't believe that loved ones aren't stealing from him. As the disease progresses, the person may lose the ability to dress their selves or even eat.
5. Burnout: Burnout is common is people who are caregivers. All your focus is on taking care of the loved one and their needs. But that isn't healthy for you or for your loved one, if you don't take care of yourself, then how will you take care of someone else? Do something for yourself every day even if it's only for 15 minutes. Take a breath and a breather and regroup. It will recharge you and help you reduce becoming burnt out.
Caregiving for a person with dementia is a difficult job especially when you see them slipping away from you. But try to focus on the good days and the positives to get both you and your loved through another day.