Part of taking care of a senior is dealing with illnesses that old age brings and one of these is dementia. Dementia is a mental illness that is often characterized by deteriorating memory, irritability, and mood swings just to name some. Though dementia is the least harmful, it is the most challenging sicknesses to deal with and often summons a lot of patience and understanding from the caregiver.
One of the most common symptoms of dementia is repetition and it is often found extremely burdensome for many a caregiver. It is because the elderly will often find themselves repeating words, conversations and actions despite these being done already. It has been the source of ire of caregivers everywhere despite it being a harmless effect of the disease because it can happen whenever a caregiver is needed to do or to focus on a certain task. It does not happen once or twice, it happens multiple times, though it may not be in succession.
Here are a few ways on how caregivers could cope with the repetitive unintentional habit of their elderly charges.
Be on the look out for patterns. This is important because at times they do or say something repeatedly, and this often means that something is up or a miss. They may be trying to convey a message, but couldn’t get their point across. Sometimes it also means that they are feeling quite lonesome and would want someone to talk to for a change.
Be sensitive to their behaviors. Sometimes their actions translate into something that they cannot express with words. For example, if a senior is walking back and forth in one place they probably need to go to the bathroom to relieve themselves.
Try the empathic approach. Sometimes these actions are often the result of pent up frustration that can’t be easily translated into words for them. Always respond carefully in gentle tones and touches to help reassure them that you are there to help.
Check if they are bored. One of the reasons why seniors do act like such is because they have nothing else to do or to have themselves preoccupied and distracted with. The best way to deal with this is to give them activities that they will enjoy doing.
Exercise their brain with activities that could help boost the memory. Not only will this be an effective and positive distraction it will also help exercise their brain’s memory. To further enhance this, also make use of memory aids such as reminders, calendars, post-its and etc.
Keep your calm. This is most likely the hardest kind of advice, however, it is the most necessary. These seniors can’t help themselves with such habit and often could not remember that they have asked the question or done the act a few minutes earlier. Always treat it as if they haven’t done it before and give what is being asked of you persistently.
When in difficulty seek assistance. Caregivers are humans and it is not strange nor it is bad to feel burdened with the responsibility. Don’t shoulder everything and always ask for help from fellow caregivers or the attending physician if you are having a hard time dealing with the behavior. Who knows? You might need some time off yourself. Never take it personally.