Seniors with dementia face many obstacles that make daily life difficult. Here are some simple tips to help them over those hurdles and lighten their loads.
Use bright colors: Seniors with dementia often have difficulty visually distinguishing objects. For example, lightly colored food — grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, etc. — blends together on their plate. Serving meals on brightly colored dishes can help them see their food more clearly and differentiate the various items.
Using bright colors on doors can also prevent seniors with dementia from leaving the house unsupervised. Camouflage exit doors by painting them the same color as the walls and make “safe doors” stand out with brightly colored labels.
Take the right approach: Seniors with dementia feel anxious when they are approached from behind. Always try to approach them from the front, and walk toward them slowly and calmly. You should also be careful not to loom over them, as that increases anxiety and makes seniors feel threatened. If they are sitting or lying down, crouch to meet their eye level. And when they are up and moving around, stand by their side so they feel supported and protected.
Plug in a night light: Seniors with dementia tend to become more agitated at night. The darkness increases their confusion and insecurity. A night light not only provides comfort but also helps prevent falls when they wake up to use the bathroom or get a glass of water.
Ensure stove safety: Removing the knobs from the stove or placing protective covers over them can prevent a serious accident when your loved one is in the kitchen without supervision.
Turn on some tunes: Studies show that music is a great vehicle for traveling down memory lane. Playing music from your loved one’s past can help bring back memories and lift their spirits. It can also help them relax when they’re feeling restless. Keep a playlist of their favorite songs ready for when they’re having a rough day.
Take a trip outside: We all benefit from time in the sun. Seniors with dementia can often feel isolated and confined in the midst of receiving home care. Taking your loved one out to a nice park or coffee shop can go a long way toward improving their well-being.
Could you or your loved one benefit from learning more of these tips and collaborating with a caregiver equipped with dementia training? For more information about how we can help, call Senior Home Companions at (800) 736-4692.