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Supporting Someone with Dementia

Delivering Comfort

Dementia can evoke feelings of confusion, fear, and discomfort in one’s own home, so anything that you as a partner, family member, or carer can do to help will contribute to putting their mind at ease. We recommend seeking professional, expert support from a care-provider like ourselves here at Butterfly Days to help manage the provision of care for a dementia sufferer.

There are different challenges that people with dementia might encounter, so here is a list of some potential problems and ways you can support them:

Forgetting Recent Conversations and Events

Dementia affects the brain in a way that information is not always stored, resulting in no memory of the conversation or event to recall.

How you can help:

  • Use pictures and written descriptions to record things that have happened.
  • Encourage them to use a diary or calendar to record important events and conversations.
  • Answer their questions simply and repeat things as often as needed. Writing down important information may help, and avoid telling them they’ve already heard it.
  • If someone can’t remember if they’ve done something or not, using prompts rather than direct questions can help. For example, ‘It must be a while since you ate breakfast, are you hungry?’ instead of ‘Have you had breakfast?’

Forgetting Names and Words

Dementia can cause difficulties in finding the right words in a conversation, such as confusing one word for another or forgetting the meaning of certain words. They may also forget the names of friends or family. Our carers are trained in how to best support those living with the effects of dementia. Our live-in carers and carers who attend home visits

How you can help:

  • Don’t rush them – give them time to think and to express themselves.
  • If you understand the context of what they’re trying to say, prompts and clues might help.
  • If they’ve forgotten someone’s name, use ways to remind them that don’t draw attention to the fact they’ve forgotten – try, ‘Here’s your friend, Jane’.
  • Use a tool like a ‘memory book’ or ‘memory box’ with photos and information about people they know – how they know them, their name etc.

Difficulty with Everyday Tasks

As dementia progresses, daily tasks like getting dressed or making a cup of tea can become confusing.

How you can help:

  • Help them break tasks down into smaller, manageable steps. Write short descriptions nearby for them to follow.
  • Make items visible to them that they might need to access.
  • Use sticky notes or wall calendars for one-off tasks and set up more permanent reminders for regular tasks – perhaps signs by the front door to remember their keys and wallet, for example.

Getting Lost When Leaving Home

When leaving their house, someone with dementia may struggle with remembering where they’re going, why they’re going there, and may find it difficult to make their way back home.

How you can help:

  • If they struggle on their own, accompanying them or finding someone to do so when they need to go out would be a good option.
  • If possible, inform neighbours and nearby shops about their situation and ask them to keep an eye out.
  • Having an easy-to-use mobile would be beneficial, or even something like a GPS device.
  • Make sure they have some form of ID when they go out, and perhaps contact numbers.

Difficulty Recognising Faces

As dementia progresses, it may affect how they recognise familiar faces, even their own reflection. This can be extremely confusing and make them feel like there are intruders in their home. Although they may not recognise those closest to them, they can still have an emotional attachment to them.

How you can help:

  • Again, the use of tactful reminders rather than highlighting the fact they can’t remember something is a good way to go about it. For example, ‘Hasn’t our grandson grown?’
  • Reassure them as best you can – it can be a strange feeling being surrounded by strangers that all seem to know you.
  • If you can, try not to show feelings of being upset or offended if they don’t recognise you – it won’t be personal. They may still smile or want to speak to you even though they might not recognise you – they may recognise smaller things like your voice or perfume.

These tips should help with different ways to approach different situations when caring for a loved one with dementia. If you or your loved one are looking into Dementia Care, check out the information on our website about what we can offer at Butterfly Days and get in touch with your local office to discuss the right care package for you or your loved one.

In the choice between national franchises and independent care providers, Butterfly Days emerges as a beacon of superior service, personalisation, and community connection. From live-in care in Lowestoft and Gorleston to finding personal care at home, our commitment to individual well-being sets us apart. Choose independence; choose Butterfly Days for a home-care experience that prioritises you.

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