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Care For Someone With Dementia At Home

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
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  • Dementia, Care, Carer
  • Posted date:
  • 05-09-2021
Care For Someone With Dementia At Home

Do you want to find out more about how to care for someone with dementia at home? We explore support available for carers and how to help someone with dementia with everyday tasks at home.

Looking after someone with dementia

Caring for a person with dementia can be one of the most challenging things you can do as a professional carer. 

The stresses and frustrations that naturally arise from Alzheimer's disease or dementia can be significantly difficult to manage. 

However, there is a great amount of support that caregivers can take advantage of to help them. With this support, professional dementia carers can find their work to be incredibly rewarding. 

What Are The Needs Of A Person With Dementia?

Support for you as a carer

Some people may not consider themselves as carers, especially if they care for family members or friends. However, if you provide home care for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, you and the person you care for will need the right support. 

This support is essential so that you can cope with significant changes in behaviour they are bound to go through. You can seek out this support in several ways:

Register as a carer with your local GP, yours or the doctor of the person you care for can lend expert advice and management support.

Make an application for a carer's assessment to assess your situation and offer helpful advice and support. 

See whether you are eligible for benefits and financial resources and support as a caregiver.

Take appropriate training courses or searching online resources so that you can provide the best care services possible.

Helping someone with everyday tasks

In the earliest stages of dementia, people can still undertake daily routine tasks and enjoy activities like they used to before their diagnosis. However, as the symptoms of their condition begin to worsen, people with dementia can begin to grow anxious, scared or overly stressed. 

Their ability to follow what is said in conversations, remember certain things, or concentrate will gradually deteriorate. As a carer, you need to help people with dementia maintain these social skills and encourage them to interact with other people. Ensuring that they remain social can also boost their self-esteem and promote good mental health.

Get a carer's assessment

Arranging for a carer's assessment is the best way to find out what specific support you need to care for someone with dementia. This support is primarily to make your life as a caregiver easier. 

These care assessments are entirely free and offered to anyone over 18 who currently acts as a carer. A carer's assessment could suggest the following support:

Respite care, where a second personal carer will come to relieve you and look after the person with dementia while taking some time for yourself.

Appropriate training in how to lift a person safely.

Connecting you with helpful local community support groups, whose members will be able to help you and offer experienced advice on caring for someone with a complex condition, such as dementia.

Assistance with chores and housework, as well as general duties, such as shopping. 

Help with eating and drinking

No matter your condition, eating a healthy and balanced diet is a crucial part of anyone's life if they want to stay fit. A common problem experienced by those with dementia is dehydration, given that they often do not even realise they are thirsty. This also puts them at an increased risk of headaches, constipation and urinary tract infections, or UTIs.

These strange behaviours and memory loss can lead to increased confusion and make the symptoms of people's dementia worse. There are several reasons why people with dementia act this way, including confusion, pain or difficulty swallowing. 

Other food-related issues that may arise include:

Being unable to recognise certain foods.

Refusing to eat and spitting out food.

Forgetting which foods and drinks they enjoy.

Requesting unusual food combinations or meals.

Help with incontinence and using the toilet

People living with dementia may also experience problems using the toilet. Incontinence, both urinary and bowel, can be tricky for anyone to deal with, let alone for someone who has dementia as well. 

These issues can often be upsetting for those with dementia and those who care for them, especially if they are a family member. Those with dementia may also simply forget that they need to use the toilet or forget where their toilet is located.

Toileting issues may be caused by:

Constipation, which also puts added physical pressure on the bladder.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Certain medication

Looking after yourself

Caring for a close friend or loved one with dementia is an incredibly stressful and demanding duty. 

While your tasks require you to prioritise the person you are caring for, it is just as essential that you take care of yourself as well. Your personal needs as a carer need to be accommodated just as much as theirs. 

Help with washing and bathing

Another common issue experienced by those living with dementia is anxiousness around personal hygiene. 

This anxiousness can lead to those with dementia refusing or needing encouragement to bathe and wash. This is another sensitive issue, which can be upsetting for those caring for people with dementia. 

Common worries surrounding bathing include:

Embarrassment at getting undressed in front of other people, sometimes even their partners

Fear of deep bathwater

Fear of slipping and falling

Being unnerved by the noisy rushing of water from showerheads

Sleep problems

Dementia is also known to affect people's sleeping patterns and significantly affect their body clocks. They may find that they repeatedly wake during the night and are disoriented and confused when they do. 

They may feel that it is morning and time to wake up. Therefore it is common to find people with dementia getting themselves dressed in the middle of the night. 

Tips for Communicating with a Person with Dementia

We can not naturally know how to communicate with a person with dementia effectively. However, it is possible to learn best practices to ensure effective communication, ultimately improving their quality of life and making your duties easier. This is especially crucial if the person with dementia you care for is a family member, as it will allow you to deal with difficult behaviour more effectively. 

01 

Positivity

Body language, intonation, and attitude can communicate your mood and feelings far more vividly than words. 

Using a respectful and happy tone, along with facial expressions and physical touch, can help you to communicate more effectively.  

02

Getting their attention

Removing distractions will help the person with dementia to pay greater attention to what you are saying. 

Turning off TVs and radios, ensuring that curtains and doors are shut, or moving to quieter locations will all help you communicate better. Using physical touch and maintaining eye contact is also a good way of holding their attention.   

03 

Be clear

Speaking slowly and clearly is your best chance of being understood by dementia patients. Only using simple words and sentences is also the best way to go. 

Lowering your voice may also help them to concentrate on what you are saying. If they fail to understand something you say, use the exact same words to repeat it. 

If they still do not understand you, wait for a while and then rephrase the question. It is also best to use specific names rather than vague pronouns (he, she, they etc.). 

04

Simple questions

Making your questions as simple as possible will also help comprehension. Only ask one question at a time, preferably ones that are easy to answer with a yes or a no. 

Don't ask open-ended questions that can lead to even greater confusion. Visual cues may also help the person with dementia find the right answer.  

05

Patience

Always be patient when talking with a person with dementia. You can suggest possible answers to help them along if they are struggling to find a reply. 

Watching for body language cues can also help you communicate more effectively. 

06 

Simple step

Breaking tasks and chores down into simple steps is also an excellent way to improve comprehension in people with dementia. 

Gently encouraging them to do what they can still do will help themselves and those who care for them. Again, physical and visual cues are the easiest to understand for those with dementia. 

07

Sympathy

Understanding that people with dementia can become easily agitated and upset can also improve communication. Suggesting a walk to change the environment or changing the topic of conversation can make things easier.

 Ultimately you need to be sympathetic towards their condition and note what might upset them in the future. 

05

Affection and reassurance

People living with dementia universally feel a great sense of confusion and anxiety in their daily lives. Therefore, to be thoroughly understanding and compassionate, you should avoid calling them out on things they get wrong.

 Focussing on their emotions and what they are feeling and responding appropriately will help to keep them calm and concentrated on what you are discussing. Offering compassionate support and comforting reassurance will help to ease things along and keep them listening. 

09 

Nostalgia

Remembering the past and recalling good times can be comforting to those living with dementia. 

Along with memory loss that is naturally a part of their condition, people with dementia can clearly remember things decades ago. However, they may struggle to remember the past half an hour. 

Therefore, avoiding questions and discussions that rely on their short-term memory are best. Instead of asking them what they had for breakfast, discuss things farther back in time that they have more chance of recalling. 

10 

Humour

Keeping things fun and light is often the best choice. Of course, you shouldn't be making fun of the person living with dementia. But those living with the condition generally hold on to their social skills, and they will be just as happy to laugh along with you as anyone else. 


If you have questions about how to care for someone with dementia at home then please use the buttons provided below.

We hope this information has been useful to you.

We offer specialist home care services and live-in care for vulnerable adults throughout London. Get in contact today if you have a loved one that would benefit from professional care at home.