How to Adapt Daily Activities for a Loved One with Dementia

Posted: 10/10/2016 7:40 AM by Interim HealthCare
For some elderly loved ones with dementia, daily activities can become far more complicated than they've ever been. Something as simple as getting dressed can seem almost insurmountable if the chore isn't broken down a bit. Try these suggestions to see if they help.

Limit Choices and Items to What's Necessary
When you offer your elderly loved one too many choices or too much information, it can be beyond overwhelming. The best option is to limit the choices to only what's necessary to perform the task at hand. For example, if you're helping your loved one get dressed, offer only two blouses or shirts from which to choose. When you're helping someone wash his or her face, limit the items involved to the washcloth and the facial cleanser being used. Offering too many different options can bring the whole process to a halt.

Simplify Instructions and Communication
When you're giving verbal instructions to your loved one, make them as simple as possible. For example, instead of letting the person know you're going to wash his or her face and then brush their hair and change clothes, start with just washing the face. Once that activity is complete, you can then mention hair. After that, you can talk about getting dressed.

Reassure Your Loved One
Throughout the activity, reassure your loved one that he or she is doing well. This can help to avoid getting confused in the middle of the activity and keep going. It also helps to realize that you're not in a position where you're judging the person or trying to rush him or her along. Move the activity along with love.

Only Jump in to Help if Truly Necessary
Many family caregivers are tempted to just jump in and do certain activities for their elderly loved ones. This is actually counterproductive and can make your elderly loved one shut down. Let he or she do what they can do and only jump in if they truly need a little extra help to complete what the person is doing safely. This isn't about letting your loved one struggle, but it can help to preserve the person's dignity a bit.

Work with your loved one's doctors and elder care providers to learn about other strategies that can work in your loved one's particular situation.

If you have an aging loved one in need of senior care contact Interim HealthCare today.