5 Practical Tips for Caring for Someone with Dementia

Two elderly people embrace each other, smiling because the woman is providing excellent dementia care for her husband

Whether you are caring for a loved one with dementia 24/7 or you are providing dementia support for a family member or friend on a regular basis, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what to do for the best.  

No-one is born knowing how to be a carer and even though it can be extremely rewarding, it can also be stressful with worries and concerns over how to provide the best dementia care as the disease progresses.  

Fortunately, there are several practical steps that you can take when caring for someone with dementia. From how to manage dementia pill taking to the best dementia games that help aid memory and boost social interaction; keep reading to discover the top five practical tips for caring for someone with dementia.   

1. Invest in an automated pill dispenser  

Remembering to take prescribed medications can become increasingly difficult for people living with dementia, as well as for their loved ones. Some of the most common challenges include: 

  • Confusion over when to take medication and how to take it  
  • Difficulty opening packaging  
  • Pills that are difficult to swallow  
  • Forgetting to take medication altogether 

By investing in an automated pill dispenser that offers persistent sound and voice alarms, you can enjoy peace of mind that your loved one is taking their medication when they are supposed to. Plus, you can take advantage of VAT exempt products if you or a loved one suffers with a chronic disability such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

 2. Stimulate the mind with puzzles  

A woman helps a man complete his dementia puzzle as they sit at a brown table together

Puzzles have been scientifically proven to help people with dementia, offering a way to help with short term memory, improve brain function and provide immediate therapeutic relief.   

You can find a wide variety of puzzles for people with dementia including custom photo puzzles and nostalgia puzzles.  

Other benefits of dementia puzzles include: 

  • It’s a calming activity  
  • Provides a feeling of accomplishment  
  • Can help to lower blood pressure  
  • Provides mental stimulation on both sides of the brain 

3. Keep hydration levels boosted  

When looking for practical techniques for how to help someone with dementia, it can be a good idea to look into ways in which you can ensure your loved one does not become dehydrated. There are several reasons why someone with dementia may become dehydrated including: 

A woman drinks water from a glass due to her droplet hydration reminder as she stares out a window taking her dementia medication
  • A lack of mobility  
  • They do not like the taste of liquids  
  • They forget that they need regular fluids  
  • They are unable to communicate or recognise that they are thirsty  

The most effective way to combat this problem is with the use of a hydration reminder such as dementia friendly cups that remind users that they need to drink more. These useful dementia care products are also designed to help people with dexterity, vision and perception issues.  

 4. Play dementia games  

You can find an extensive selection of dementia games online that are designed to be both enjoyable for those affected by dementia and to help aid social interaction. Dementia games are specifically adapted for people with visual and cognitive impairments with features such as: 

  • Enlarged counters and playing pieces  
  • Dice cards as opposed to a dice  
  • Basic designs for those with more advanced symptoms

5. Encourage conversation 

It is incredibly common for people with dementia to start losing confidence in themselves and to develop low self-esteem. This in turn can lead to withdrawal from friends, family and the outside world. Therefore, it is crucial that you find ways to encourage conversation and social interaction when it comes to providing dementia support for your loved one.  

Thankfully, there a many cognitive stimulation activities that you can try: 

  • Link & Think. A simple game that encourages conversations about careers. This allows people in early to mid-stages of dementia to reminisce about their past employment and to voice opinions on different types of jobs.  
  • Reminiscence therapy. This involves looking through old photo books, creating a scrapbook or simply talking about the past.  
A staff member provides dementia care for her patient as she walks her back inside the care home

When caring for someone with dementia, it is crucial that you take the time to look after yourself as well as your loved one. You could talk to other carers, contact Alzheimer’s Society or Age UK for support and advice or even take a break from caring if you are really struggling to cope.  

Remember, you will not be able to provide dementia care for your loved one if you do not care for yourself first.  

For further information on dementia care, sign up for our new, free 3-part dementia car guide, written by former carer and founder of Dementia Help, Christina Neal.

 We're Taking Action for Dementia Action Week - 10% of all sales of dementia care products will be donated to Alzheimer's Society this week (17-23 May 2021), helping them to make dementia care accessible for all and #CureTheCareSystem

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