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Should Dementia Caregivers Be Honest or Compassionate?

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Dementia caregivers often have to manage unexpected situations. In most cases, there is no true right or wrong way to handle statements or behaviors that are not grounded in reality. By knowing how to delicately balance truth with kindness, you can look out for your senior loved one’s best interests without causing him or her pain. Here are a few tips on how to strike a balance between being honest and compassionate when caring for a senior loved one with dementia.

Be Truthful About the Diagnosis

If your loved one asks why he or she cannot remember something, it’s okay to mention it’s a symptom of dementia. Be careful to provide only as much information as you know your loved one can handle. In the event your loved one expresses concern about what may happen in the future, call attention to the present and offer reassurance that he or she will always receive high-quality care.

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Oakville Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Show Kindness with Tangible Reminders

Seniors with dementia sometimes get stuck in a loop where they insist they want something that cannot happen. For instance, your loved one may insist on getting ready to go to his or her old job. When this happens, using reason may not be effective. Instead, you can rely on tangible reminders such as pointing out your loved one’s current daily schedule or showing photos of his or her old house versus the new one to provide a better understanding of reality.

Offer the Truth Sparingly

Your loved one may sometimes confuse people with others he or she has known. For instance, an older adult with dementia may call someone by the wrong name or think a grandchild is his or her own child. In these instances, it’s fine to offer the proper name or relationship to help your loved one make sense of things. However, you should never force the issue. Instead, make only one correction and drop it if your loved one insists on sticking to the false belief.

Caring for older adults with dementia can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Oakville, ON, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Use Compassion to Address False Accusations

Unfounded accusations are often difficult to address. While listening to your loved one blame the housekeeper for the missing remote may make you want to declare the housekeeper’s innocence, it’s much more effective to address the underlying issue at hand. Seniors sometimes accuse others for their missing items as a way to manage the fear of losing their abilities. Instead, help your loved one set up a system to keep up with his or her belongings. Alternatively, a senior who always claims someone is trying to break in at night may benefit from having an overnight caregiver.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Oakville seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Call us at (905) 337-1200 to schedule a free in-home consultation.