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6 Steps to Better Dementia Care

Elderly couple pointing and looking at sticky notes reminders

When providing care for a family member with dementia, it’s important to remind yourself that you ARE capable, you ARE doing an excellent job, and you ARE making a difference! And while you’re self-affirming, there are some additional “Rs” which can help both you and the person in your care; six of them, to be exact. Known as the 6 Rs, they provide a simple roadmap to better dementia care.

What Are the Six Rs in Dementia Care?

The six Rs in dementia care are steps to help you effectively manage some of the more difficult components of dementia:

  1. Reassure: What was once familiar and routine may now be frightening and alarming. This may include loud noises, waning hours of sunlight, unknown visitors, and sometimes even hallucinations. Offer words of reassurance such as, “It’s ok. You’re safe. I’m right here with you.”
  2. Reassess: Try to uncover the primary cause for the person’s agitation or fear. Make sure to investigate any potential physical causes, such as thirst, hunger, discomfort, or pain. If you are uncertain, check in with the individual’s physician for direction.
  3. Reconsider: Think about the way the specific trigger is impacting the person. Remind yourself that these behaviors or reactions are unintentional. They are the result of the disease of dementia. A little empathy can go a long way towards alleviating their stress, and yours.
  4. Redirect: Find a calming task, or change the environment. If the noise from the dishwasher is disturbing the individual, simply moving into the family room to work on a puzzle might be all that’s necessary to rebuild a sense of calm.
  5. Relax: Any anxiety you’re conveying, either through words or body posture, will more than likely aggravate the situation. Take a deep breath, relax your body, and use a calm, quiet voice. Be sure to designate ample time away from your care duties for self-care too.
  6. Review: When the person is calm again, reflect back on the situation to consider what worked (or did not work). Keeping a journal is an ideal way to track coping mechanisms and their effectiveness.

Providing care for someone with dementia is a selfless endeavor that, while rewarding and fulfilling, may also be exceedingly challenging and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Allow ample time for activities and socialization with others to ensure you stay rested and refreshed.

If you are finding it difficult to step away from your caregiving role on a consistent basis, give Superior Senior Home Care a call. We can meet with you in the comfort of home to talk through the challenges you are facing and to offer more Alzheimer’s care tips in addition to in-home dementia care support. We are here to help any time you need us. Connect with us at 805-737-4357 or contact us online to find out more about our dementia care services throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

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