How To Help Dementia Patients Maintain A Sense Of Dignity
When your loved one is in the grips of dementia, it’s hard to remember that they’re still the same person before dementia took hold. But remember that they’re still a full adult, thus should be treated like any other adult. You can bring a lot of comfort to your loved one’s life by helping them maintain a lifestyle similar to the one they had before dementia struck. Use some of these ways to help your loved on maintain their dignity.
Most Important: Don’t Be Condescending
It’s important to remember your loved one is still an adult. However, it can hard to avoid speaking to them like a parent when you’re helping them with basic daily activities. To your loved one, this can come across and demeaning and condescending. Be careful with your word choice as well as your tone of voice. Avoid using words like diaper and potty; use the “normal” versions of those words to minimize that feeling of condescension.
Lying is bad in most situations, but it can actually be used to communicate your wishes to loved ones without feeling guilty of lying. To avoid causing unnecessary pain or anxiety, some therapeutic fibbing might help. This works because those who suffer from dementia don’t have much short-term memory. They may forget something obvious, like a doctor’s appointment they have scheduled. Instead of telling them the bare truth that they’ve been going forever, just let them know it’s a checkup and you forgot to tell them.
Doing so will dispel discomfort or insecurity that comes with being afflicted by dementia.
Social situations can appear daunting when you’re caring for someone with dementia. It doesn’t have to be terrifying, though! All it takes is a bit of extra thought and planning to create a rewarding social outing.
How To Plan Your Outing
- Make sure to consider these factors when planning your outing:
- Time of day – Plan your outing during the time of day when your loved on generally has the best mood.
- Distance – Distance can make the trip longer, as well as more difficult as you’ll be further from home. Is everyone going on the trip prepared? Will they enjoy it?
- Setting – Everyone’s different. Some people might enjoy crowded areas such as around town, while other may want to relax where there aren’t as many people, like at a quiet park.
- Food – If you’re going to a restaurant or cafe, you’ll want to see if they have foods that are easy to eat; but you’ll also want to make sure everyone involved will like the restaurant in the first place.
There’s no one right way to fully prepare your loved for an outing. Do they get anxious and constantly ask questions about your outing in the time leading up to it? Do they forget about it completely? Or are they fine with advance notice? You know your loved one better than most, so use your best judgment and prepare accordingly.
Other at the location of your outing will need to be prepared for your loved one’s special needs, too. Try to call ahead and make the place aware that you’re coming and will need certain accommodations for your loved one. In addition, you could bring discreet written instructions and hand them to the place so they know about your loved one’s condition. Alternatively, you could speak to them discreetly in person when you arrive.
Whatever you do, use discretion. Sufferers of dementia will feel demeaned if they discover a restaurant or other business is catering to their special needs.
Stay Calm And Relaxed
If things are going smoothly, there’s nothing to worry about. Any worry you start to show will be picked up on by your loved one, which can in turn cause them to feel anxious. Stay calm and relaxed before and during the outing and you’ll enjoy yourself just fine.