As you provide care for a senior with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to keep in mind that you ARE more than capable, you ARE doing an excellent job, and you ARE making a difference! And while you’re self-affirming, there are several additional “Rs” that can help both you and the individual in your care: the six Rs of dementia care.
What Are the Six Rs of Dementia Care?
The six Rs of dementia care are steps that will help you better manage some of the more difficult components of dementia:
- Reassure: What was once familiar and routine may now be distressing and concerning. This may include waning daylight hours, abrasive noises, unfamiliar visitors, or even hallucinations. Offer words of support like, “You’re safe. It’s ok. I am going to stay here with you.”
- Reassess: Make it a point to establish the underlying cause for the person’s agitation or fear. Be sure to explore any potential physical causes, such as thirst, hunger, pain or discomfort. If you’re not sure, talk to the person’s doctor for help.
- Reconsider: Understand how the specific trigger is impacting the person. Remind yourself that these reactions or behaviors are not intentional. They are the results of the disease of dementia. A little empathy can make a major difference in relieving their stress and yours.
- Redirect: Switch gears to a calming activity, or remove them from 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 necessary to restore a sense of calm.
- Relax: Any agitation you are expressing, either through body posture or words, will more than likely aggravate the situation. Pause to take a deep breath, release the tension in your body, and use a calm, quiet tone. 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 on the situation to consider what worked (or did not work). Keeping a journal is an excellent way to track coping mechanisms and their effectiveness.
While providing dementia care is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, it is a responsibility that can be tough and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you’re 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 consistent basis, give Golden Harmony a call. We can speak with you in the comfort of home to talk through the obstacles you’re facing and to offer more dementia care tips along with in-home dementia care support. We’re here to help with our home care services whenever you need us. Call us at 919-426-7522 or contact us online for assistance with dementia care in Raleigh and the nearby areas.