Caring for Someone With Dementia

Remember that your loved one is not deliberately being difficult, and try not to take it personally.

Caring for Someone With Dementia
photo: istock


In the early stages of dementia, while a patient is still aware of their diagnosis and their poor memory, they may feel vulnerable and require a lot of reassurance. You can help by allowing them to express their worries and talk through them.

Expressing identity

It’s important for people with dementia to feel that their individual identity is not being consumed by their illness, and that they still have a sense of self-worth. Carers can help by allowing them to make their own choices when those choices won’t cause harm to themselves or others. This includes allowing them to dress and wash themselves as long as it’s safe for them to do so, and avoiding making them feel helpless or infantile.

Often people with dementia will find that their taste in foods changes enormously; as a carer, it’s important to take their tastes into account and serve them food that they enjoy eating and which keeps them relatively fit and healthy.

Difficult behaviour

As dementia progresses, a person’s behaviour could become erratic and unusual. It is sometimes possible to reduce the frequency of out-of-character behaviour by ensuring the patient is calm, keeping familiar personal items around them and ensuring that their sleeping environment is comfortable.

Remember that your loved one is not deliberately being difficult, and try not to take it personally – their sense of reality may be very different to yours, and they are just doing what seems right and normal to them.

Subscribe to Reader's Digest magazine for more helpful articles ...


Latest from Health

Featured Articles
She Took on Tobacco Health
She Took on Tobacco
When this cancer specialist realised that pension funds were investing in the growth of the tobacco industry, she felt it was time to challenge the status quo.
The King of Vinyl Magazine  
The King of Vinyl
How one man never gave up on LPs.
Why We Cry Health  
Why We Cry
Our tears are far more important than scientists once believed.
Journey Through Kokoda Travel
Journey Through Kokoda
A promise is fulfilled along the physically and emotionally gruelling 96-km track.