More than five million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, a number that’s projected to double by 2060. Eventually, most families are touched by someone who has been diagnosed with some form of dementia. As a dementia caregiver, learning how to adjust your caregiving efforts to accommodate your loved one’s changing needs is essential for maintaining their quality of life. Here are some things you’ll need to consider when fine-tuning your dementia care plan.
Develop a Routine
Daily routines can be helpful for both of you. A planned day allows you to spend less time figuring out what to do and more time on meaningful activities that provide enjoyment.
That said, remember to make time for yourself by engaging in activities you enjoy. If possible, include your loved one in those activities, for example, taking a long walk. Structured, pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood for someone with dementia. Planning activities for them works best when you continually explore, experiment, and adjust.
Adjust Your Routine
Once you’ve established a daily routine, tweak your schedule based on:
- Your loved one’s likes, dislikes, interests, and abilities
- How they used to structure their day
- What times of day the person functions best
- Allowing enough time for meals, bathing, and dressing
- Setting regular times for going to bed and waking up, notably if your loved one experiences sleep issues or sundowning
Make sure to allow for flexibility within your daily routine for spontaneous activities. As dementia progresses, the abilities of your loved one will change. With creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving, you’ll be able to support their needs by adapting your daily routine.
Activity Ideas for Someone with Dementia
Keep your loved one with dementia content and engaged by trying some of these activities:
- Household chores
- Personal care
- Creative (music, art, crafts)
- Spontaneous (visiting friends, decorating for the Holidays)
- Intellectual (reading, puzzles, looking at old photo albums)
- Work-related (making notes)
Make Additional Adjustments
Based on what you’ve learned, adjust your routine even further. In general, if your loved one seems bored, distracted, or irritable, it may be time to introduce another activity or to take a break. Keep in mind that the type of activity and how well it’s completed is secondary to the joy and sense of accomplishment your loved one experiences while doing it.
To help you along, ask yourself these questions:
- Which activities work best? Why?
- Did spontaneous activities work, or did they cause anxiety and confusion?
- Were there times when too much was going on without enough to do?
As a caregiver, don’t try to fill every minute with activities. Your loved one needs a balance of activity and rest and may require more frequent breaks as the disease progresses.
Your Daily Dementia Care Plan Template
Here is an example of a daily care plan for someone with early to middle-stage dementia:
- Wash up, brush teeth, and get dressed
- Prepare and eat breakfast
- Have a conversation over coffee
- Discuss the newspaper, try a craft project, or reminisce about old photos
- Do some household chores together
- Take a walk or play an active game
- Prepare and eat lunch, read mail, wash dishes.
- Listen to music, do a crossword puzzle, or watch TV
- Do some gardening, take a walk, or visit a friend
- Take a short break or nap
- Prepare and eat dinner, clean up the kitchen
- Reminisce over coffee and dessert
- Play cards, watch a movie, give a massage
- Take a bath, get ready for bed, read a book
In most cases, a person with progressive dementia will eventually require a professional caregiver’s assistance to help them through the day. Be sure to find one with the required skills, patience, and experience to assist your loved one.
Dependable In-Home Dementia Care for Seniors in Alabama
Caring for a loved one with dementia isn’t always easy when you’re busy or live far away. At Seniors Prefer Homecare, our highly trained in-home dementia caregivers will provide your loved one with the nurturing they deserve so they can keep on living right where they want to be. In addition to dementia care, our compassionate professionals can support activities of daily living with services like personal care, respite care, household duties, companionship care, live-in care, and 24-hour care.
At SPH, our mission is lifting the spirits of those we serve while maintaining their independence, dignity, and self-esteem. To learn more about our “cream-of-the-crop” home care services now, or to schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in Tuscaloosa or Huntsville, AL, today, please visit Seniors Prefer Homecare at www.seniorspreferhomecare.com!