September 16, 2015

Lalja WheelchairWhether a loved one’s dementia sets in gradually, with subtle signs developing over time, or it appears seemingly out of the blue – often after an illness or hospitalization – providing care can at times be difficult and tiring for the caregiver. It is times like these that it may be useful to ask for help from home health aide companies, like Continuum.

Caring for a senior loved one with dementia can feel, at times, like caring for a child, and it can be easy to slip into a reversed role of parenting the senior. In spite of the childlike behaviors that may be exhibited, however, we at Continuum keep our focus squarely on providing the dignity and respect that these seniors so deserve.

One of our guiding standards is the Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights, which includes such positive caregiving principles as providing meaningful engagement for the person, getting outdoors whenever possible, offering gentle physical contact when welcomed (such as hand holding), and fully training our caregivers in the art of exceptional dementia care.

Here are five tips to help you in your journey in caring for someone who struggles with the issues of dementia:

  1. Continue to include the person in conversations, even if he or she seems unable to participate or fully understand what’s being discussed.
  2. Always use the person’s name in addressing him or her rather than terms of endearment like “honey” or “sweetie” to maintain a sense of identity and respect.
  3. If the person requires assistance with toileting, bathing, and dressing, take steps to maintain as much privacy as possible to maintain his or her dignity.
  4. Use appropriate adult terms for what could conceivably be described in childlike terms – such as “pureed fruit” instead of “baby food” and “incontinence products” over “diapers.”
  5. Allow the person to have control over everyday choices and decisions that do not compromise safety – such as selecting what to wear and what to eat.

For more suggestions on providing dementia care with dignity and respect, or for some hands-on assistance from a specially trained and compassionate caregiver, contact us any time. Continuum has been providing in-home care and respite care services in Saint Louis and Saint Charles counties for many years. You can request a free in-home consultation, during which our professional staff can assess what type of services your loved one needs. These can range from basics such as light housekeeping, laundry and linen care, and meal preparation, to nursing services, such as checking vital signs, setting up medication schedules, and more.

You can contact the Continuum home care experts at 314-863-9912 or 636-861-3336, or you can fill out our web form to have someone call you.