As many of us get older we find our memories rustier than they once were. However, for other people, it may be much more serious. Statistics show that as much as 13% of people over the age of 70 develop dementia.
Dementia is not only difficult for those who are suffering from the condition, but also for the family members caring for them. it can be challenging to know what to do, and how to support them best. To help you navigate the challenges of dealing with a loved one here are some of the best tips.
Although it can be difficult to accept that our loved ones are not the same as we once knew them, accepting the changes and being flexible with them are key components of the entire process. Resisting reality will only make things more difficult for everyone. Accept that there will be good days, and there will be bad days. The more open you can be to change, the less difficult each stage of the experience will be as it evolves.
It will take a considerable amount of patience to get through difficult moments. It’s not uncommon to find yourself impatient, or even angry at times. It’s helpful to equip yourself with self-soothing techniques that keep you calm when you start to feel yourself getting agitated.
One of the best things you can do is remember not to sweat the small stuff. Try to let things go when you can, and always be the bigger person. The more that you take steps to avoid confrontational situations, the more that everyone will benefit in the long run.
Focus on Safety
Your ultimate goal should be to keep your older loved one out of harm’s way. The steps to achieve this can vary depending on your unique situation. Usually, the most common dangers take place in locations like the kitchen, or around dangerous areas of the house like the garage. The more you can think ahead and anticipate safety issues ahead of time, the lesser your chances of something dangerous happening will be.
Think Long Term
When you’re looking after someone with dementia, it’s important to avoid being reactive, and rather focus on what the long-term plan is. Split-second decisions can be tough, especially when you’re emotionally involved. So, the more proactive you can be, the better you can handle situations by considering the big picture.
Ultimately, you must have a positive and patient attitude. Remember, dementia is progressive, so the more you can take steps to accept that the situation can change from one day to the next, the better you’ll be able to navigate moving forward. By anticipating some of the challenges ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to struggle during difficult times.