When caring for a person with dementia, it is essential to remind yourself that you ARE capable, you ARE doing an excellent job, and you ARE making a difference! And while you’re self-affirming, there are some additional “Rs” that can help both you and the person in your care; six of them, to be exact.
What Are the Six Rs in Caring for a Person With Dementia?
The six Rs in dementia care are steps that will help you better manage a number of the more challenging components of dementia:
Reassure: What was once familiar and routine may now be frightening and alarming. This may include loud noises, waning hours of sunlight, unknown visitors, and sometimes even hallucinations. Offer words of support for example, “It’s ok. You’re safe. I am right here with you.”
Reassess: Try to uncover the main cause for the person’s fear or agitation. Make sure to explore any potential physical causes, for example, hunger, thirst, pain or discomfort. If you are uncertain, check in with the person’s health care provider for direction.
Reconsider: Give consideration to the way the specific trigger is affecting the person. Remind yourself that these reactions or behaviors are intentional. They are the result of the disease of dementia. A little empathy can go a long way toward reducing your stress, and theirs.
Redirect: Find a calming task, or change the environment. If the noise from the dishwasher is troubling the person, simply moving into the living room to work on a puzzle might be all that’s needed to restore a sense of calm.
Relax: Any anxiety you are expressing, either through body posture or words, will probably exacerbate the situation. Take a good deep breath, relax your body, and use a quiet, calm voice. Make sure to designate plenty of time away from your care duties for self-care too.
Review: When the person is calm again, reflect back over the situation to consider what worked (or didn’t work). Keeping a journal is a great way to track coping mechanisms and their effectiveness.
Caring for a person with dementia is a selfless undertaking that, while fulfilling and rewarding, can also be extremely challenging and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Allow ample time for activities and socialization with others to ensure you stay rested and refreshed.
If you’re finding it hard to step away from your caregiving role on a regular basis, give The Care Company a call. We can speak with you in the comfort of home to talk through the obstacles you are facing and to offer more Alzheimer's care tips as well as in-home Alzheimer's care support. We’re here to help any time you need us. Call us at (416) 422-2273 or contact us online for assistance.