When considering how to treat someone in dementia care, you should not just focus on the treatment facilities or physicians. Other family members and caregivers should also be included in your decision-making. They may play a more important role than you originally thought. Here are six tips when visiting someone in dementia care.
First, be prepared for any changes in your loved one’s behavior. This may require that you keep an appointment with your loved one at his or her home. You need to be able to predict what might happen because medications and symptoms can vary from person to person. You should also learn as much as possible about your loved one’s personality so that you will have an idea of what to look out for.
Second, take along someone familiar with your loved one’s condition. It is especially helpful if this other person can also speak in a loud voice with a firm expression. You should try to determine if any other health problems could cause similar symptoms for your loved one. This could mean that he or she needs additional attention in terms of his or her diet and exercise habits.
Third, keep your family informed about what you are doing. You should let everyone know what you are doing so that they will have a chance to provide input on things. However, make sure that you do not reveal too much information too soon. There may be times when you are concerned about divulging personal information that could cause someone to become fearful. Then you should consult with your family before revealing too much.
Fourth, maintain a calm and informative tone of voice. A caring approach to talking about your loved one’s condition will help him or her remain focused. You can also try asking questions that will trigger emotional reactions. For instance, if your loved one starts to feel agitated ask questions about his or her daily life. You can also talk about the activities that he or she likes to do.
Fifth, do not start conversing with the people in charge right away. This will only create a negative impression. Instead, wait for a few minutes and introduce yourself. Try to get some basic information about the people in charge and what their goals are. This way, you can better direct your conversation and steer clear of subjects that could lead to more confusion.
Sixth, avoid using any form of medication. Your loved one will still need his or her medicine while in the dementia care facility. However, it is always best to follow the doctor’s instructions on what he or she can take and what he or she cannot. This will also help keep your loved one comfortable and discourage any mood swings.
Lastly, avoid forming relationships with other caregivers or visitors. Do not talk about your loved one with anyone unless it is with a family member or close friend. Dementia is a difficult time for everyone involved and should be treated that way. Even though visiting someone in the care of a nursing home or other facilities, you must follow all of the aforementioned tips when in the presence of a person suffering from dementia. If possible, request that your loved one’s doctor be present during any such visit.
If you do decide to visit, do not eat, drink or use any of your credit cards or bank cards. The last thing that you need is a credit card statement in your wallet when your loved one is talking about the things that he or she can no longer remember. Also, do not use verbal persuasion to convince your loved one to sign over the deeds to a house or apartment. This may seem manipulative but it will save your loved one many frustrating and costly situations later on. Also, do not leave a room or object without asking permission first.
While you are there, request to speak with a supervisor or nurse if you feel comfortable. A lot of dementia care facilities are staffed by elderly individuals who may have different philosophies on how to handle a situation. If you can, try to talk to several different types of people before deciding on who you want to spend time with. You should be aware of any policies and guidelines that are in place. For example, some facilities require that visitors be 16 years old or older, must require help, and be able to walk. If these guidelines are violated, you may be turned away from the facility.
Visiting a facility can provide a lot of insight into the daily lives of people in dementia care. Take the time to ask questions, pay respects to the staff and consider all of the options available to you while you are there. Remember that your loved one is counting on you and is not likely to forget anything that he or she has told you. Be sensitive to this fact and ensure that you are not doing anything that could jeopardize their safety. After all, you would not want to put them in a situation where they would be harmed by a facility member who did not follow the rules.