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Dementia Care: Tips for Communicating with Your Loved One

If you take care of someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, as the conditions worsens, you will most likely begin to notice that your loved one’s ability to participate in conversations, understand what is being said to them and communicate begins to deteriorate. As his or her ability to communicate clearly begins to decline, your loved one can become frustrated or angry. These signs and behaviors may be considered as “red flags” that your loved one has reached the moderate stage of their disease and you will need to change the way you interact with them because what you used to do may become increasingly frustrating and ineffective. There is an art to communicating with someone with moderate to severe dementia, especially a loved one. It’s not easy but it can be learned. Try thinking in terms of “triggers.” There are triggers you want to avoid and triggers you want to connect to, if possible. Here are some “negative triggers” you want to avoid: Avoid asking questions your loved one can’t answer. Don’t ask if they remember someone or something and don’t ask them names. If they are asked these questions and don’t remember, your loved one may feel he or she has to pretend to know the answer, or they may become agitated or angry. Neither is a good option. Instead, simply tell them who it is. Instead of asking “Do you remember who this is,” tell them, “this is your granddaughter, Tiffany. You babysat her from the time she was a tiny baby. She’s all grown up now.” Instead of asking open-ended questions, give your loved one...

Tips for Adminstering Medications to Your Loved One with Dementia

If you are providing care for a loved one with dementia, you are no doubt dealing with their medications as well. While this is a major topic to discuss, we will briefly touch on some of the important things to remember when administering medications to your loved one living with dementia. If you have further questions regarding this topic or the issues discussed below, please speak with your loved one’s physician. There are two issues that primarily need to be covered. The first is safety issues regarding medications. The second is actually getting your loved one to take the medications. Here are a few tips from the experts on medication safety both in the home and regarding determining what meds will need to be taken. It is important to recognize that your loved one is probably taking or at least has several medications prescribed for their dementia and various other conditions they may have. Be sure you are coordinating with all care providers. It is also best to have all prescriptions filled by the same pharmacy so that they will catch any drug interactions that would be dangerous to your loved one. Know if your loved one has any drug allergies and if so, to what and what kind of reaction they have to that medication. There is a difference between a true “allergy” which can cause swelling (even in the throat) and difficulty breathing and simple unpleasant “side effects” such as changes in stools or a lack of appetite. Be sure you carry a list of their medications with you when taking them to the doctor, especially new...

Consistency Matters in Dementia Care

Whether a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease is cared for at home or in a skilled residential facility, there are certain hallmarks that signify good care. Consistency happens to be one of the most important. Consistency involves a number of different factors that can help those living with dementia enjoy their lives to the fullest while ensuring a level of care that is exceptional. Whether care is provided at home or in a residential care setting, medical professionals recommend a consistent approach be taken in these areas: The people caring for the loved one – While consistency is relatively simple to ensure at home when a family member and a few other familiar faces might be responsible for all care, it can be trickier to ensure in a care facility. One of the points to consider when selecting a residential facility to care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s is the consistency of the care given. People living with memory disorders tend to do better when staff members are able to build a rapport with them by providing specialized care day in and day out. It is also important to make sure staff members are highly trained. The environment – It is also important to keep a loved one’s surroundings comfortable, warm and familiar. Making sure not to dramatically change the home environment is important if family members will be caring for the loved one. In a residential care facility setting, make sure the atmosphere is homelike. Also be sure to bring familiar items to the loved one’s room to help make them feel more at home....