On September 7th, Marysue Moses, the Dementia Care Program Coordinator at Ebenezer, shared some great resources how to be a more effective caregiver for those those loved ones with dementia.
We learned that there are three phases of dementia, and different techniques and tools for you to use in each of those three phases:
Phase 1 is when an individual loses their adult learning skills that make it difficult to find the right words, have critical thinking skills and might develop irrational fears. The best thing to do is to stop arguing with the individual, but instead empathize and validate the person. Meet them where they are instead of bringing them to you.
Phase 2 is when that person loses their adolescent learning, such as having control over their emotions, their organizational skills, and they may develop delusions. Something to think about that can help is to give structure to their routine, give verbal cues, and remember the 5 W's when you are validating their situation.
Phase 3 is when someone loses their childhood learning that might cause them to become overstimulated easily, might misuse objects, and will rummage, fiddle, hoard, and gather. The biggest thing to remember is this person is NOT a child, simply break down their routine into simpler tasks, ask yes/no questions, and give lots of compliments. Everyone wants to be told how wonderful they are, no matter their stage in life.
Aside from resources for taking care of others, it is also very important to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to slow down and trust your instincts! It is always a learning process and don't be afraid to ask for help from others! At the Martin Luther Campus we have Respite, Stay-By-The-Day, and Adult Day Programs designed to help carry the weight of care-giving.
If you would like more information on any of our services and resources related to dementia, Alzheimer's, or our memory care program Dimensions, Click Here.