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Helpful Tips for Providing Home Health Care for Dementia Patients

Mar 20, 2019 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers

Caring for a person with Dementia can be a challenging job for anyone, but Dementia care can be made easier for both the caregiver and the one being cared for by having a better understanding of the condition. Understanding the feelings experienced by a person with Dementia on a daily basis such as confusion, agitation, and anxiety can help your loved one to live a better life.

Here are a few home health care tips on how to provide a calming environment for your loved one with Dementia;

Activity Involvement

Incorporating different types of activities and exercises into a Dementia patient’s day is essential for both their physical and mental health. Persons diagnosed with Dementia will be less agitated throughout their day if they are involved in some activity that they find interesting.

Appetite Change

One symptom of Dementia is the ability to affect a person’s sense of taste and smell. In turn, it could stop a person from feeling hungry to full. Eating may not be as pleasurable for people living with Dementia as it once was. As a result of this change in appetite, Dementia patients are more susceptible to malnutrition and dehydration which could furthermore cause the person to feel confused.

To help the Dementia person achieve a healthy schedule of eating, try to serve meals in places that are quiet and free from distractions. Having your loved one face a wall while eating could help to eliminate any distractions. Dementia patients tend to be more sensitive in rooms that are too cold or too hot, so attempt to keep the room at a comfortable temperature level.

A common behavior for those living with Dementia is wandering and pacing. This behavior is persistent even during meal time. Calorie-dense food such as peanut butter or dried fruit may be a solution for those who have a hard time sitting at the table for a long period of time. Other alternatives for meals are high protein drinks and food bars.

Handling Agitation in Patients

When dealing with a Dementia patient under a state of agitation, be sure to remain calm and reassure your loved one that you are there to help them in any way that you can. In any situation, always remember that arguing with an agitated Dementia patient is counterproductive. If the person does become agitated, use pleasing activities such as listening to music or looking at old photos to distract them.

Help with Personal Care

It is important when providing Dementia care that you encourage your loved one to do as much personal care for him or herself as possible.  In addition, give guidance and provide helpful reminders of what comes next which could be as simple as passing the soap or towel at appropriate times.

Making a Schedule

Be prepared to continually explore, experiment, and adjust you schedule when planning activities for a person with Dementia. Keep in mind, what works today may not be the best option for tomorrow.

As the Dementia in the patient progresses, the interests and abilities of the senior will be subject to change. Activities that were once enjoyable for the one living with Dementia may now be the source of frustration for them now and could cause increased agitation. Prepare to modify and adapt your routine as well as planned activities accordingly, in order to accommodate the abilities of the senior.

To stay organized, it would be helpful to write down a plan of care and break it up into manageable sections such as mornings, afternoons, and evenings. As you go throughout your day, check off the activities as they are completed.

Eventually, a person living with Dementia will need the assistance of a caregiver for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Organize the day around structured, pleasant, and familiar activities to reduce agitation and help to improve the patient’s mood. If you need help creating your own plan of care, the Alzheimer's Association or your local Area Agency on Aging provides some excellent resources. Comfort Keepers provides exceptional services through the help of our professional caregivers. If you are in search of Dementia care for your loved one, please contact our office at (732) 521-1777.

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