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5 Dementia Coping Tips for Your Family

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Adult child male and older man with dementia coping tips.

When a loved one has dementia, it can affect the entire family. Not just emotionally, either. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly half of all caregivers who provide help to older adults do so for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. This means this diagnosis isn’t just a devastating change for your loved one; it will have a profound effect on your life as well. So, how can you best support your loved one while also giving them your best? Check out these dementia coping tips for families.

5 dementia coping tips for families

Tip #1: Tend to your loved one’s emotional needs

Before your loved one’s dementia progresses to the later stages, they will likely still be primarily independent. So, while planning for the long term is important, at first, you’ll want to be particularly supportive of your loved one’s emotional needs with dementia coping tips that include:

  • Reassuring your loved one that you will work together.
  • Pledging that you will honor their wishes as best you can.
  • Considering a support group or psychotherapist who specializes in dementia.

Tip #2: Practice self-care

This may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s essential to continue taking care of yourself so can be at your best to care for your loved one and cope with the demands of caregiving, which can be psychologically and physically taxing. As such, another dementia coping tip is to prioritize self-care by:

  • Scheduling time each week to do things that nourish and relax you.
  • Asking for help from other family members and friends or paid caregivers.
  • Considering a dementia support group or psychotherapist for yourself.

Download our Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia today.

Tip #3: Approach their behavior changes with understanding

Many families are surprised to realize that dementia doesn’t just affect memory; it can also change behavior. Your loved one is likely to feel frustrated, scared, and angry, which can cause them to behave uncharacteristically. For example, they might lash out at you or have trouble controlling their impulses.

While it doesn’t make it any easier, try your best not to take these changes personally. Rather, a dementia coping tip we recommend is to educate yourself on what to expect in regard to behavior changes so you’re not caught off guard. However, if the behavior gets extreme, you should reach out to your loved one’s doctor in Hillsborough Township to help you navigate these changes.

Tip #4: Encourage them to access care

Accessing care may not seem like a dementia coping tip, but the reality is that your loved one’s ability to make rational decisions is compromised, so they may not cope as expected. In fact, it’s quite common for those with dementia to refuse to seek and accept treatment. As a result, you’ll need to convince them to do so with coping strategies such as:

  • Pointing out that some dementias are treatable
  • Highlighting advances in dementia treatment
  • Discussing how memory care can delay or even improve symptoms
  • Enlisting other family members to encourage treatment
  • Asking a trusted doctor to intervene
  • Talking about what you worry will happen if they don’t seek treatment
  • Giving your loved one time and space unless symptoms are truly urgent

Tip #5: Explore treatment options in Hillsborough Township

Exploring treatment options is actually an empowering dementia coping tip because it’s something you can physically do to help your loved one, something you have some control over. If your loved one is able to do so, exploring options together can also help them come around to the idea of care if they are hesitant. Importantly, the fact that most dementias can’t be cured shouldn’t be a deterrent to treatment because the appropriate care can ease symptoms, prolong your loved one’s life, and curb anxiety and depression. Some questions to ask about treatment options in Hillsborough Township include:

  • What treatment options are available?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How likely is it that treatment will work?
  • Are there alternative treatments available?
  • Are there lifestyle strategies that can increase the effectiveness of the treatment?
  • How long will it take to see results?
  • How much does treatment cost, and is it covered by insurance?
  • Are there clinical trials available that might help?

Moving beyond dementia coping tips

In the early stages of dementia, your loved one can likely remain at home in Hillsborough Township with support from friends and family members and/or an in-home aide(s) who can provide care. However, when their dementia progresses to the later stages, specialized care outside the home may become necessary to give your loved one the best quality of life.

Memory care is a type of senior living that is specifically designed to nurture those with dementia. These communities offer specifically trained staff and individualized support with 24-hour supervision and an environment that is secure and easy to navigate. Our memory care community in Hillsborough Township can help your loved one live their best life with therapy, structured activities, social opportunities, and even dining options designed to improve nutrition and independence.

To learn more about dementia coping tips, download our Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia today.

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Written by kaplan

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