Strategies for Caring for Someone with Dementia Part 3
During the month of November, Mayo Clinic and NBC Universal partnered to honor National Family Caregivers Month. This partnership fostered a website called the Caregiver Resource Guide, which provides strategies, tips, and support for caregivers of people with a variety of conditions. We have been sharing strategies you can use as you care for someone living with dementia; below are this weeks strategies.
Respect and Encourage Autonomy
Feelings on the part of your loved one that they no longer have choices or agency are real and can result in anger or resentment. Whenever possible, allow the person maximum autonomy with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating, even if they don't always get it right. These skills will wane over time, so be prepared to adjust expectations, such as giving them a few basic choices each day for what they wear, what they eat or what they do. Like all of us, your loved one will also want space and it's important to respect that. They may need privacy, alone time or just downtime. Listen for cues, whether verbal or nonverbal.
Do With, Rather Than For
Because the very setup of the caregiver=patient dynamic implies a hierarchy, it's best to avoid the impression of taking over. Don't assume your loved one can't do things and don't assume they need your help. In addition to providing choices, actively engage your loved one in planning and doing activities together, as partners. Going grocery shopping and taking daily walks together can not only ensure healthy eating and exercise, but also put you on equal footing and strengthen the relationship between you.
You can view the full list of strategies on the Caregiver Resource Guide website. All information provided is courtesy of Mayo Clinic and NBC Universal (2022).