Care in its simplest form is making sure someone is supported, looked after and safe. Where dementia and Alzheimer’s is concerned, the same rules apply but care givers must be aware of situations that might arise.
Dementia is not something anyone should be afraid of. When someone has to deal with dementia it can have a significant impact on their life. This is where care is so important. Some describe the changes that occur as a series of losses and having to adjust. That is unsettling for everyone concerned.
We believe that it’s not just about the person going through the changes. For dementia to be properly managed, the family and other close friends and colleagues must be involved. It’s a package of care, a plan worked up with everyone affected, so that the person with dementia can receive support in every area of their life as they move forward.
Does dementia change everything?
Dementia is not the end of the world. Sure it involves huge changes, but handled appropriately the journey for everyone involved can be managed. Much depends on the relationships the person with dementia has, the environment they live in, and the kind of support they get from friends, family, health officials and care givers.
It is always important that people with dementia feel valued by those around them. It’s easy to be dismissive, to tell people to sort themselves out, be irritable and snap, and be impatient. It’s much harder to show empathy and to work hard to understand how others are feeling.
How does dementia change a person?
There is a saying about understanding others. It goes something like… to understand a man, you must walk in his shoes for a mile. Put simply, this means that before you pass judgement, and to fully understand what someone is going through, what their thought processes are, etc, you must truly put yourself in their position.
You must try to appreciate how they think, the emotions they go though. Yes they are changing, but the same person is still inside… reaching out for understanding and care.
That’s not easy. When supporting a person with dementia it can be even harder. If care givers can start to understand the impact dementia has on someone, that really helps. You must ask yourself how they feel and what they think about the people and things around them.
What is apparent is that everything seems to be changing for someone with dementia. It’s the care giver’s job to help manage this transition, update the family and keep things consistent for the person with dementia.
Focus on the positives
We are all different. When someone has dementia they can panic and think that others are against them, that they no longer fit it. They might forget what they have been told and see things differently. They need to be reassured, not corrected. What they think and feel matters to them and it’s very real, whether the changes have actually happened or not. Patience is the key.
The daily tasks that most of us find easy might suddenly become difficult to someone with dementia. Forgetting a recipe when cooking will cause upset, there will be a loss of independence, and potentially a loss of confidence. They need to be assisted, encouraged and helped through these challenging times.
No matter who Side by Side Care supports, we make sure they are safe and comfortable in their own homes. Dementia is something everyone in society needs to understand. We all need to be tolerant, to be patient and to offer help where we can.
Our care givers take things further and treat each client with dignity and respect. It all starts with a conversation about how we can help, what the best care plan is and how it can be delivered.
Always together, always side by side…