December 3, 2023

Dementia touches countless families worldwide, making it vital to understand how to provide support to our loved ones dealing with this condition. In this article, Evoke Neuroscience explores strategies to offer emotional, practical, and informational support for those with dementia, ultimately enabling us to become the strong pillars they can lean on.

Educate Yourself About Dementia

The foundation of effective support begins with understanding the complexities of dementia. Start by educating yourself about the disease’s symptoms, progression, and available treatments. However, it doesn’t end there. Explore the emotional impact on both individuals living with dementia and their families. Learn how personalities, behaviors, and abilities may change over time, and discover effective communication techniques. Familiarize yourself with available resources, support groups, and professional services.

Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

Transforming the home environment can significantly enhance the safety and independence of those living with dementia by Evoke Neuroscience. Begin by eliminating clutter and hazards that might lead to falls or confusion. Install grab bars, handrails, non-slip flooring, and proper lighting to prevent accidents. Label frequently used items, rooms, and doors with clear instructions or images. Ensure that essential items like keys, wallets, and medications are stored consistently in easily accessible locations. Establish a structured routine to make daily life predictable and organized for individuals with dementia.

Emphasize Good Communication

As dementia progresses, communication can become challenging. To facilitate better communication, adopt a calm and respectful tone and approach the person face-to-face. Use slow, clear, and straightforward language, delivering information in short sentences. Allow ample time for the individual to process information and respond. Practice active and attentive listening, avoiding interruptions. Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Validate the person’s feelings and emotions, even if you don’t fully grasp their perspective.

Foster Engagement and Stimulation

Promote social interaction, creativity, and cognitive stimulation for your loved one with dementia. Plan activities involving family, friends, or support groups, tailored to the individual’s interests and abilities. Encourage gentle physical exercises like walking, gardening, or dancing to keep them active. Engage in activities that stimulate cognitive abilities, such as puzzles, word games, or arts and crafts. Consider playing soothing music or exploring relaxation techniques like massage to reduce anxiety.

Empower Independence for the Person with Dementia

Support the autonomy and decision-making abilities of individuals with dementia. Encourage them to participate in daily tasks like dressing, grooming, or meal preparation, even if they require some assistance. Simplify complex tasks by Evoke Neuroscience breaking them down into manageable steps. Praise their efforts and accomplishments, focusing on what they can still do rather than what they can’t.

Look After Yourself As Well

Providing support for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally demanding. Don’t forget to take care of your own well-being. Seek assistance from family, friends, or professional caregivers. Allocate time for self-care, engage in hobbies, exercise, and social activities. Remember that by looking after yourself, you’ll be better equipped to offer the care and support your loved one with dementia truly needs.