Caring for a loved one with dementia

this image shows the front cover of the book, "Dementia and the family"

Dementia and the family by Rachel Johnstone

Dementia and the family is a tactile resource for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia. It offers over 160 activities that are intergenerational and allow for improved communication, interest and fun.

There is also a really interesting and informative introductory section covering 20 pages.

Rachel has included

“Ten ways to show you care”.

It is often the little things that make the biggest difference. Knowing how best to care for someone with dementia can be overwhelming but you don’t have to become an expert in dementia care to improve the quality of life for a loved one. The little gestures, small acts of kindness, considerate behaviours and words of comfort – things all too easily forgotten with our busy lives are the foundation for caring for about someone with dementia.

Ten ways to show you care;

  1. Savour every moment that you spend together by giving your undivided attention. Be there and totally present in the moment.
  2. Treat your loved one as the person you know and love by being genuine in what you say, your body language and eye contact. Treat them with respect and avoid being patronising.
  3. Always acknowledge their feelings even if you do disagree and allow them to release their emotions.
  4. Wherever possible ┬áinvolve your loved one in decisions. Never force them to do something they don’t want to do.
  5. Involve them in conversations and don’t talk over them or exclude them.
  6. Find ways to make life easier without taking over. Help compensate for the effects of their illness whilst supporting their independence.
  7. Look for every opportunity to engage in some creative activities and play games, share jokes, laugh, reminisce about funny stories and acknowledge your loved one’s sense of humour. Activities and hobbies that they have always enjoyed are particularly important since they help to retain their sense of identity.
  8. Find ways to stimulate all the senses, from taste to touch. Going for a walk and hearing bird song is a great one.
  9. Try to be understanding and see things from your loved one’s point of view. Never blame someone with dementia for their actions, criticise or ridicule.
  10. Keep to the rhythm of their life, being respectful of daily routines. Do not put pressure on your loved one to “Keep up” such as talking too fast.

Use this link to buy your copy of “Dementia and the family”. It is ideal for anyone working in a residential home, memory cafe and day care services. It is also extremely useful for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia.
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Caron

Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

4 Comments

  1. Hello Arlene,

    Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to leave such an interesting comment. I was especially interested in the part where you describe the improvements in your Dads’ vocabulary, balance and cognitive skills. Research in the US has also shown that different coloured lenses in glasses can make a difference too.

  2. Thanks Robert, it’s a great book. I find it interesting and very useful as I learn about dementia.

  3. This is a great article – and so useful for anybody who is caring for a loved one with dementia.

    Thank you for sharing, Caron.

    Robert Mason

  4. It is so difficult for a family when a loved one is first diagnosed with dementia. In mine and my sister’s case with our father it was a case of just managing to keep one step ahead. We found it hard to access help or advice and we’ve learnt as we’ve gone along. Dad, who has vascular dementia, is 92yrs old and is now in a care home – a hard decision, but one which was definitely for the best. It’s not a solution we would have made from choice, but it is a wonderful home with wonderful, caring staff and dad is much more content and happy with life since moving there because all the stress and fear has been taken away. He needed 24 hour care when he began wandering at night away from the house and we were unable to provide that. I see him usually twice a week and take him out and my sister pops in most days for a breakfast cup of tea. Choosing the right home is paramount and we’d say look around carefully and don’t be afraid to change if it’s not right – we did! Things that the first home saw as a problem, such as dad wandering out of his room at night, were taken on easily by his present home and not seen as a problem; they simply installed a sensor on his door so they would know if he left his room! Help and advice is crucial for relatives so that they can help their loved ones. If this book does that it will be well worth reading; whether they are still living in their own home or a care home. Dad still has a good sense of humour and when we do some gardening, which has been his lifelong passion, something switches on in his mind – his vocabulary improves, his balance, his cognitive skills. It’s really quite amazing!

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