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Tips to Mastering Daily Tasks With Dementia & Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease and dementia can make daily tasks more challenging, but a life plan community with a focus on dementia care can help your loved one deal with the challenges of memory loss. Simple interventions, such as maintaining a soothing environment and providing plenty of activities to keep both mind and body occupied, can make a big difference in the emotional and mental health of residents with dementia.

Here are some tips for how family members and caregivers can help older adults with dementia master daily tasks from the experts at The Sylvestery, the memory care community at Vinson Hall Retirement Community.

Limit Frustrations

When simple daily tasks become more difficult, individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia often get agitated. Focus on reducing frustrations and minimizing challenges to help your loved one feel capable and confident about tackling everyday activities. Ways you can provide a challenge-free environment include:

  • Utilize simple instructions. Speak slowly and clearly, and give your loved one time to process the request or instructions. Dementia can affect the ability to understand others' speech and follow complex lists of tasks, so be patient and stay prepared to repeat yourself if necessary.
  • Limit distractions. Dementia can make it difficult to concentrate, so remove as many distractions as possible before attempting a conversation. This might include turning off the TV or radio, shutting doors to block out noise in other rooms and closing blinds or curtains to reduce visual distractions.
  • Provide choices. Seniors with dementia often become agitated when they feel they have no control over their lives anymore. Offering appropriate choices for everyday decisions, such as what to wear or eat, can improve self-esteem. The kinds of choices you can offer depend on the specific stage of dementia and your loved one's symptoms, but you should try to provide the opportunity when you can.

Stay Flexible

Flexibility is key when dealing with a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Many seniors feel frustrated about being dependent on others after living independently for years. Adapting your routine to help your loved one maintain a consistent schedule can help.

Because the symptoms of dementia can change from day to day, it's important to modify your expectations and adapt your level of support as needed. There are three stages of dementia, and each stage requires increasing levels of support and supervision.

On some days, especially in the early phases of dementia, your loved one may behave almost completely normal and may seem unaffected by major memory issues. Other days, your loved one might experience significant gaps in memory or confusion. Progression of dementia is often not straightforward, either. After a few days with significant symptoms, there may be a short period of near-normal behavior.

One major challenge for families of seniors with dementia is how to deal with an inability to deal with reality. Avoid arguing with your loved one about reality because arguments can cause agitation. Gentle reminders may help, but sometimes, the only real option is to distract your loved one onto other topics.

Create a Safe Environment

Dementia can impair both judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing the potential for injuries. Creating a safe environment for your loved one to navigate helps reduce the risk of trips, falls or bumps. Here are specific steps you can take to make your loved one's home environment safe and comfortable.

Start by clearing away clutter and debris that could be a tripping hazard.

Arrange furniture in a convenient, consistent pattern to make it easy for your loved one to maneuver around the home. Avoid rearranging furniture because things not being in their expected place can lead to confusion or frustration for someone with dementia.

Keep light bulbs in working order, and install night lights in hallways and bathrooms to help your loved one navigate the home after sunset.

Focus on Individualized Care

Alzheimer's disease and dementia present differently for each individual, so keep in mind that your experiences are unique. Individualized care takes into account your loved one's personality, progression of the disease and family priorities. Tailor the tips above to your family member's needs, and don't hesitate to change your approach if symptoms change.

Schedule a Visit to The Sylvestery at Vinson Hall Retirement Community

As your loved one progresses through the stages of dementia, care needs increase, and it may become more difficult to provide the necessary support at home. Fill out our contact form to learn more about The Sylvestery, our memory care community and our round-the-clock dementia care options.

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