Alternating from family member to care partner to help a person with dementia may be challenging to navigate on your own. Dementias, including Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia (PDD), present many varied symptoms that may occur suddenly, changing the entire family dynamic overnight.
To proceed with a dignified type of care and affect positive change in a person’s life, you don’t have to accomplish some grand gesture of good will or go to the ends of the earth. There are plenty of small kindnesses and favors that people with dementia can benefit from. Here are some of the quickest ways to positively impact the life of a loved one with dementia.
Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia can impact the patient and care partner’s lives dramatically. Visual hallucinations, fluctuations in cognitive ability, slowness of movements, difficulty walking, and other symptoms can severely hinder a person’s quality of life. When trying to communicate, individuals with dementia can easily get frustrated with their own helplessness at effectively delivering a message. Patience is the key for anyone who wants to help a person with dementia. Frustration can quickly shut down the lines of communication between you two, but patience helps them stay open.
Offer an Ear
A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t suddenly change the person who has been diagnosed. He or she is still a mother, father, husband, or wife who has accomplishments, goals, hopes, and interests. While the person does have a disease that can impact normal life, they still desire to connect and communicate as much as anyone else. Letting them talk about their experience, struggles, or future worries can ease their personal burden. A judgment-free, correction-free zone may ease stress and tension.
Help Tackle a Daily To-Do List
For those suffering with Lewy Body Dementia or Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, simply accomplishing small tasks around the home can be an insurmountable battle. We take certain things, like doing the laundry, washing the dishes, or changing bed sheets for granted, bemoaning the frequency with which we have to do them. Someone with dementia may become distracted or forget how to even complete these tasks, which fosters a disorganized environment that increases confusion. Help cross off items on a daily to-do list. If your loved one doesn’t have a particular list, check off small daily chores that will keep their home or yard clean and tidy.
Include Them in Conversations
Humans thrive off of connection with one another and a person with dementia is no different. Sometimes, they may fear speaking out or jumping in a conversation because they don’t trust their mind or body to communicate effectively. Be sure to include them by asking questions about their day. Ask them to share a memory or their opinion on a story or topic, then welcome whatever answer they offer, even if it is a non sequitur.
Educate Yourself on How to Help a Person with Dementia
The more care partners know about Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, the better they can offer relief to their loved ones with either of these diseases. Awareness of symptoms, types of therapy, current research, and future outlook create a more informed caregiver who can better provide the appropriate respite their loved one needs.
With each new day, care partners have the opportunity to make an important impact in the lives of their loved one with dementia. Small kindnesses can have an equal or even greater impact than large gestures. The Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center believes in the importance of educating caregivers for people with dementia. Our website and Helpline are vital resources that care partners can access to learn more about caring for a loved one with dementia. Contact us today for questions related to dementia.