Caring for someone with dementia is stressful and heart-wrenching. When caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia disorder, there are a few important principles to keep in mind.
Avoid Correcting The Patient
“Hi, Remember me, Mr. Jones? I come here every day!” Statements like this can embarrass and even aggravate the patient. Instead, say something like, “Hi, how are you feeling today?” If the patient doesn’t remember you, politely introduce yourself yet again.
It is particularly important not to correct the patient in a situation where your statement could be traumatic for him or her. A patient asking where her mother is does not need to be told that Mom passed away years ago. Don’t lie, but be creative with your wording. “I don’t know everybody yet–I’m new here” or, “I haven’t seen her,” are examples of more tactful answers.
Avoid Announcing your Departure
Even with home care, a senior with dementia may never feel at home, especially if the disease has caused him or her to revert back to a previous season of life. Saying you are going home for the day may upset the patient since he or she might want to go “home” too. A better option is simply slipping out or mentioning an unpleasant errand you have to run–like going to the dentist.
Always be Kind
Dealing with a forgetful patient can take a lot out of you but can also be very rewarding. Helping to create positive moments in a patient’s day by showing respect and kindness will often balance out the monotony of having the same conversations again and again. One of the best home care nurse tips is to treat each patient the way you would want your own loved ones to be treated.