By Eric Woolf
Caring for an elder with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be a stressful task at times. It’s not easy physically and emotionally, but let’s always remembers that it’s not easy for them either. Some day all of us with become seniors and we need to figure out what’s best for them so we take care of them how we would want to be treated.
Over the past few years I have realized a lot of things about taking care of the elderly and I thought it would be helpful to share a few things. Currently I run the website for a Cincinnati Alzheimer home health care company called Family Bridges and have been caring for my elder grandmother that has a mild form of dementia. It’s sad to see her in these states with cognitive health issues. But there are some things that we can do as caregivers to help them through this. Listed below are some tips and things I do to help my grandmother:
- Be Patient & Don’t Take It Personal – Always remember to be patient with the elderly. Some days things will not go your way and try to be understanding if your senior doesn’t remember something, like your name for example. They still care about you and they just can’t help it. Every once in awhile, my grandmother calls me by my uncle’s name. One time she actually called me by a girl’s name who is a cousin. When that happens, I give her a hint that it was the wrong name and we laugh together about it. It’s kind of funny which brings up my next point.
- Make Them Laugh- People with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often struggle with depression. I believe a powerful way to make a senior happy is to use laughter to combat the sense of helplessness that they feel with age. Laughing always feels good because it releases endorphins in the brain which has many healthy benefits. Catch your senior by surprise with something that will get them to laugh. Every person is different and what makes them laugh depends on their personality.
- Keep Their Brain Active- It’s hard to talk with the elderly at times, especially when they have a hard time hearing also. But try to have a meaningful conversation with them at times. My grandmother stays at home by herself most of the days when I go to work, so her brain is not very active. Having conversations is a good way to keep the brain active. I’ll always encourage the other elderly neighbors to stop by during the day and chat with her. It’s good for both of them.
- Get Them Out of the House- This suggestion goes along with the previous to help them keep an active brain. It’s sad to sit at home all the time so try to get them out of the house every once in a while. Plus it’s good to get some sunshine and a breath of fresh air- literally. Even if you can’t get them to take a walk outside, it’s still good to drive them around. A lot of times I will take my grandmother to the park along with my nice for a drive around town.
I hope these suggestions help better the lives of both you and your elder. If you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comment section below.
For more information on home care in Cincinnati visit Family Bridges. For care in your area visit our National Directory of elder care providers.