When a parent or loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s critical to take a person-centered approach when providing their care. Family members know better than anyone else what activities make their loved ones happiest. Aging expert Dr. Macie Smith offers ways you can help support someone living with dementia in their natural environment.
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Hi. I’m Dr. Macy Smith. When a parent or loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s critical to take a person-centered approach when providing their care. Family members know better than anyone else what activities make their loved ones happiest. By using this knowledge, it can greatly benefit someone living with dementia, when creating their care plan.
Here are some ways you can help support someone living with dementia in their natural environment.
Minimize change in routine. Repetition and familiarity are key to ensuring independence for longer periods of time.
Keep the environment simple and calming. This also plays into familiarity. Don’t start suddenly rearranging furniture or bringing in new items; instead help keep the house tidy and as recognizable as possible.
In addition to keeping a loved one in a familiar environment you should also encourage them to keep up with their favorite hobbies. If they’re passionate about a certain thing, do your best to foster that passion.
The last tip might be hard. Give them choices and try not to control. Ensure to make available two appropriate choices so no matter what they choose, they choose well.
It’s critical to note that you don’t have to immediately move Mom or Dad into a Memory Care Facility when they’re diagnosed. While there are benefits to these facilities, studies show that most do much better at home because of the familiarity, and establish routines that provide comfort. But you may need professional assistance for things like helping Mom or Dad with bathing, dressing, dining, light housekeeping, transportation, shopping, supervision, and companionship.
It’s not easy watching a loved one go through this dementia journey, but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas about how to navigate it and provide the love and support that your loved one needs.
We’ve got so much more in our What to Expect as Our Loved Ones Age series and our Memory Care Family Resource Guide at synergyhomecare.com. See you next time!
Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to synergyhomecare.com/blog/.
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