Caring For Someone With Dementia

Updated: Jan 11, 2019


Caring for someone with dementia is a difficult process. It requires a lot of patience, love, and motivation. Here are some tips for both family and professional caregivers so that you can have more successful interactions for the person you are caring for.


Family Caregivers:

  • Take one day at a time since new situations will arise everyday. Worrying about what will happen tomorrow, hinders you of the energy you need to get through today.

  • Be creative. Every day new developments will occur with your loved one. It's important that you are a quick and creative thinker who adapts to problems, and finds solutions.

  • Have patience. People who are dealing with dementia can get easily angered, frustrated or saddened due to memory loss. Give them your full attention and try soothing them.

  • Physical contact. Actions speak louder than words. Sometimes all a person dealing with dementia needs is comfort. Holding their hand or giving them a hug can make all the difference.

  • It’s ok to get frustrated. Sometimes, you will get frustrated at a certain situation or action that your loved one does. In these cases, don’t lash out at your loved one since it will only make the situation worse. Try going for a walk, talking to a friend, or reading a book to help calm down.

  • Getting things done is important. When it comes to caring for someone with dementia, having the job finished is better than having the job done perfectly.

  • Accept help. When someone offers you help to run an errand, or buy your groceries, accept it. Don’t wait until you “really need help”. When help is offered take it.

  • Seek support. Find and connect with local dementia support groups in your area to find out how other family caregivers deal with their loved ones dealing with dementia. You get the best advice from people who are going through the same things as you.

  • You are a role model for your loved one. If you want them to be happy, be happy yourself.

  • Set up schedules and patterns for yourself and your loved one, it will help as the dementia progresses.

  • Doctors need to be advised by you. They don’t see everything that is going on with your loved one in your visit. You need to tell them everything that happens at home so that they can help your loved one better. Keep a track on day to day changes with your loved one so that you can give the doctor all of the details.

  • Make your conversations straightforward. When speaking to a loved one with dementia, open ended questions are not the best idea since that can cause them get confused if they are not able to find the correct words for an answer. Ask yes/no and multiple choice questions for a better response.

  • Secure Power of Attorney before your loved one loses all of their everyday functions. It is also a good idea to set up a financial plan with your bank as well.

  • Learn about dementia, specifically the type of dementia your loved one is dealing with so that you can provide the best care. Read about the latest research, innovations, and clinical trials and consult with the doctor on whether or not your loved one should take a part in these.

  • Give yourself a break. Caring for a loved one with dementia is hard work, and scheduling an hour a day to yourself will do both you and your loved one good.

  • Maintain social ties. Don’t socially disconnect with everyone just because you are taking care of a loved one. Calling some friends over to your home is important company for you and your loved one.


Professional Caregivers:

  • Address the person in a direct manner, and gain their attention by sitting in front of them and maintaining eye contact.

  • Provide written instructions along with background information when leaving reminders for the patient.

  • Support and encourage the patient. If they respond to something correctly acknowledge that and if they are trying to piece together a sentence gently assist them.

  • Use direct and simple language. Use more structured and formulated sentences such as yes/no or multiple choice response options. Also speak in a soft manner.

  • Orient the patient by introducing yourself and explaining what you will be doing, it will make the encounter more comfortable for both you and the patient.

  • If a patient doesn’t understand what you are saying try rephrasing the words or speaking slower.

Caregiving for someone dealing with dementia is an ongoing process. The tips above are just some of the things that can be done by caregivers to succeed in their caregiving endeavors. There are many more things that can be done, it depends on situation to situation, and family to family. The important thing is to make sure that both the caregiver and the patient are happy. Progress is possible.

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