Dementia is a category of diseases that affect the brain. A person affected will live through a progressive loss of cognitive functions that eventually will lead to a loss of memory, reasoning, and judgment. They will also endure personality and behavioral changes, loss of physical functions, and ultimately death. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are other varieties as well. No matter what causes the disease, the diagnosis may leave a family scrambling to care for their loved one as it progresses.
At Wesley Enhanced Living, our employees are the front line of support for our residents. We provide training to help our employees understand this disease and learn techniques to best support our residents with this disease. Remembering these key factors can help you successfully care for a person with dementia.
Important Facts to Bear in Mind as A Caregiver
Family members depend on us to ensure that their loved one is safe. Our employees have the ability to make a positive impact on our residents and their families by bringing them peace of mind and calming their fears. These are important factors to keep in mind when caring for someone with Dementia.
- We All Need Support: This statement is true, whether the caregiver is a family member or a professional. It helps to talk to others who have experience who have cared for those with Dementia. This may be a colleague or manager who will be able to provide you, as the caregiver, support that will allow you to best support those in your care.
- Empathy Is an Action: Dementia robs people of their memories and causes confusion. This can be extremely frightening for the person affected. Remember to put yourself in their shoes so that you can understand and respect what they are going through.
- Have Realistic Expectations: This irreversible and progressive disease will continue to limit ones cognitive and physical abilities. Recognize that this disease impacts everyone a little differently and we need to treat each person as an individual and work to best meet their ever changing needs. Remember, they will have good days and bad days. Enjoy the good days and keep your residents comfortable, happy, and safe.
- Don’t Take it Personally: As Dementia progresses, you may discover that your once happy, friendly resident may become angry and combative. They may push you away when you are helping them get dressed. They may not recognize you or their surroundings. Remember that it has nothing to do with you. There is always an underlying cause for personality shifts and frustration. Instead of getting your feelings hurt, reach out for support, empathize, and reset your expectations.
- Be Mindful of the Progressive Nature of this Disease: This disease is going to change how a person receives care over time. Be aware of changes and be prepared to reassess the medical needs of those in your care. The only ‘stable’ thing about dementia is that change is inevitable.
- A Positive Attitude Is Everything: It can be difficult to watch this disease take down bright and vibrant people. You may face some very discouraging days, but the most important attribute you can keep as a caregiver is a positive attitude. Know that you have the opportunity to make even their darkest days brighter and you have support when you need it.
If you want to make a compelling difference in the lives of others, are enthusiastic about life-long learning, and are seeking employment where your strengths will be valued, then please learn more about Wesley Enhanced Living’s career opportunities.