How to take care of a person with dementia

Being a carer for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related neurological disease can be a challenge as your loved one struggles with a loss of brain function and memory problems. Here we give some tips on how to take care of a person with dementia.

Better communication

Improve communication with your loved one by being positive and affectionate. Minimise distractions and use non-verbal cues such as touch to reinforce a message. Use simple words and sentences and pitch your voice low. Questions with yes or no answers are best - don’t give too many choices. Keeping a sense of humour can help you to laugh together.

Eating and drinking

Having a well-balanced diet is important. Those living with dementia often don’t drink enough, leading to urinary tract infections, constipation and headaches. Other food problems include forgetting the taste of food and drink, not recognising food or refusing food. Try to involve the person in preparing meals to reduce stress. Experiment with different flavours and use finger foods if they struggle with cutlery.

How to take care of a person with dementia

Incontinence

Incontinence and forgetting where the toilet is can be upsetting. Be understanding and remember it’s not their fault. Try to establish a toilet routine, and schedule fluid intake regularly. Having a daily walk is good for regular bowel movements. Your GP can advise on incontinence pads and waterproof bedding.

Help with bathing and washing

People with dementia often have difficulty with hygiene and find being undressed traumatic. Following familiar bath routines can be reassuring. Bath seats, non-slip mats and grab bars can help prevent falling while the incapacitated may require bed baths.

Dressing

To assist with dressing, choose comfortable, loose-fitting clothes with easy zips or velcro fastenings. Lay clothes out in the order they are to be worn.

Sleep issues

Those with dementia may become disoriented in the night, as dementia can affect the body clock. You can try putting a dementia-friendly clock showing the time of day next to the bed, cutting out alcohol and caffeine in the evenings, and installing blackout blinds.

Putting yourself first

You may feel isolated or guilty, or have negative feelings towards your loved one. Remember that this is normal, and your needs matter too.

  • Get in touch with local support groups and consider getting a carer’s assessment
  • Learn to prioritise, and do the most important things first
  • Share your thoughts with other carers, friends and family, a GP or a counsellor
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help
  • Think positively. Focus on the plus side of being a carer and your fondness for the person
  • Take breaks - you will be a better carer if you can get away for a while
How to take care of a person with dementia

The next step

As the symptoms progress, you may wish to investigate specialist live-in care. An agency such as Guardian Carers will be able to tailor support to your unique needs, as we have years of experience and know how to take care of a person with dementia in the later stages of the disease.

Once you have completed your enquiry Guardian Carers will contact you on the details you have provided with information about the services we provide in order to assist you. Your information will not be shared with anyone outside our companies group.

At any time you may cease to receive communication by contacting Guardian Carers to delete, update or transfer for your information at no cost to yourself. Simply email data@guardiancarers.co.uk with the name and email address you provided on this form.

Please see Guardian Carers data protection and privacy policy for further details how your information may be used. You will receive an email confirming how your information is used.

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