If you are caring for a senior parent or loved one with dementia it can feel like you’re always playing catch up. In a way, you are. Because dementia affects each person differently and the family members of someone with dementia and any companion care at home providers are constantly reevaluating the situation and trying to adjust to meet the needs of their loved one.
Everyone who is caring for someone with dementia will make mistakes. Family members, companion care at home providers, medical personnel, and everyone else that routinely deals with seniors who have dementia. You will say things that you instantly regret. You will say things that you shouldn’t. It happens to everyone. When you make a mistake just let it go and try to not repeat the mistake.
You and their companion care at home aides should try to avoid saying these things to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia:
“Don’t You Remember?”
Your senior loved one with dementia won’t remember what you said to them, and asking them why they don’t remember something can be hurtful. It also can cause your senior loved one to panic or feel scared because they will feel disoriented and start to question why they can’t remember. They may also get angry with themselves for not being able to remember. Assume that they will not remember anything you said to them before and just say it again with patience and kindness.
“That Didn’t Happen”
When someone has dementia they may have hallucinations or they may remember events from the past differently than how they actually happened. You may think that you’re comforting them when you tell them that something they think to be true didn’t actually happen. But in reality what you are doing is making them question what’s real and what isn’t because what they are experiencing feels very real to them. Instead of telling a senior loved one with dementia that something didn’t happen say that you remember a certain thing happening and reassure them.
“I Told You Already”
It can be very frustrating to have to repeat the same things over and over, especially during the course of a short period of time. But your senior loved one isn’t trying to frustrate you. They genuinely can’t remember. So don’t tell them that you told them something already. Instead try to find new ways to say it or redirect the conversation to a new direction so that they aren’t fixated on that one point.
“They Passed Away”
When a senior loved one with dementia asks about a spouse, or a sibling, or a friend and why they haven’t seen that person in a long time it’s normal to want to be honest with them and tell them that the person passed away. But when you have to tell your senior parent over and over about a death it can be traumatic for them. Every time you talk about it they will experience the grief of that death all over again. Instead just tell them that the person is away or that you will call them to find out why they haven’t come by lately.
If you or a loved one are considering Companion Care at Home Services in Allegheny County PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
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