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Caring for Those With Dementia

Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias should strive to continue to do as much as they can for as long as possible. And home might just be the best place.

“The preferred environment for those with dementia is generally at home,” said Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Potter served on the expert panel to help develop content for the Home Instead Senior Care network’s free Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education Training Program.

The following, from Dr. Potter and the Home Instead Senior Care network, are tips on how to help family caregivers continue to engage older adults with Alzheimer’s in everyday activities:

1. Allow seniors to do as much as they can but don’t expect them to do what they can’t. Give clear instructions which may mean giving instructions one step at a time.11-21-12-senior-corner.gif

2. Simplify the task. When dressing, put that senior in a position to do as much as possible. Make it easier to dress, for instance, by laying out clothing in sequential order, with the underwear and socks on top.

3. Start an activity and then ask the senior to help. If your mom has forgotten how to make that favorite family recipe, begin the process and have her help with whatever she can.

4. Make activities easier or change the activity. If that older adult can’t play bridge now, play war or another card game instead.

5. Remember, it’s more than just about task. Turn a bath into an opportunity to smell different soaps or, when picking out clothing, discuss fashion or special colors.

6. Remember that exercise can help keep seniors active longer. They should get up and move more, not less.

No matter what the activity, bring fun and happiness to the endeavor.

“Laughter is great, and use plenty of it to stay engaged with a senior loved one,” Dr. Potter noted.

For more information about the free Family Caregiver Training for family caregivers of seniors dealing with behavioral changes of Alzheimer’s and other dementias call 910-484-7200 or visit www.HelpforAlzheimersFamilies.com.

Contributing writers, Martha Owen and Susan Guy, franchise owners of Home Instead Senior Care. For more information visit www.homeinstead.com/647.

Photo: Home is the preferred environment for those suffering from dementia.

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