For caregivers of loved ones with dementia-related conditions, personal care activities that were once viewed as routine or enjoyable may be met with resistance due to perceived threats or confusion. Family caregivers can, however, make activities like bathing easier to deal with by taking some extra steps when it comes to personal care. Here are a few tips from the Annapolis dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance.
Explain What’s Happening
People with dementia can sometimes get confused and agitated if you initiate activities like taking a daily bath without letting them know what’s going on. Take a few minutes to explain things while:
- Speaking in clear, soft tones
- Politely answering questions that are repetitive (“Didn’t I already take a bath today?”)
- Giving them time to calm down if they seem overly agitated
Prepare Everything in Advance
To avoid sudden mood swings, renewed confusion or agitation, get everything ready in advance. Consider taking the following steps to reduce the odds of combative behaviors:
- Keeping supplies (soap, washcloths, deodorant, toothpaste) within easy reach
- Verifying the water temperature of bathwater
- Covering mirrors (if seeing a reflection causes confusion or fear)
- Having a caregiver of the same sex help with activities like dressing and bathing
- Making sure that the room is comfortable
- Using larger towels to ensure privacy
Offer Choices and Encourage Independence
Avoid the temptation to do everything for your loved one. By monitoring rather than being overly protective, dementia patients can retain their valued independence while knowing that someone is nearby in case they need assistance. Consider moving some personal care activities to the morning, if possible, since dementia symptoms tend to be less severe during the early hours of the day.
You can further encourage independence by giving your loved one choices (“Would you like a bath or shower today?”) and asking permission before giving assistance (“Do you need some help brushing your hair today?”). In some cases, seniors are more combative with family members because they feel embarrassed or helpless. It can sometimes be helpful to hire a professional caregiver from an Annapolis home care agency who can provide assistance as-needed with the utmost dignity and respect.
Get Help Today
If you feel your loved one’s care needs are becoming too complex to manage alone, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Annapolis today. We are a trusted, local provider of in-home care, specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s home care in Annapolis. Trust our highly trained and experienced caregivers to assist with tasks from personal care and medication reminders to light housekeeping and transportation. Call 443-302-2771 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation with a friendly Care Manager today.