Caring for Dementia Patients: The Fundamentals

Posted about 1 month ago

Caring for people with dementia can be highly rewarding, but it can also be very challenging. There’s plenty that care workers need to be aware of when it comes to the impact of the disease and how it should be best handled. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the challenges that you may face when caring for a person with dementia and how best to cope with them.

Coping with Changes

People with dementia may feel vulnerable as their condition deteriorates, making them increasingly reliant on other people to carry out everyday tasks for them. Therefore, it’s paramount that client’s with dementia are kept reassured and that they feel supported while retaining some level of independence.

As the client’s condition deteriorates so will their abilities. You must learn to adapt to these changes, which can leave you feeling like you’re having to start all over again. It can also be difficult to see the service user struggle with things they used to be able to do, but you must focus on what they are still able to do and how you can support them with these tasks.

Preparing for Difficult Emotions

Dementia causes a neurological decline that can result in a host of other issues. Depending on the areas of the brain that are affected, patients may develop difficult behaviours and moods, posing considerable challenges for those who look after them.

As a dementia care worker, you may find yourself feeling frustrated or tired at work. At times you may even feel isolated or as though you’re caring for the person out of a sense of duty. All of which are very common and reasonable reactions. Before you take on a role providing dementia care, you should be prepared to deal with these emotions, or the feelings can negatively impact many parts of your professional and personal life.

Being a Realistic Care Worker

Most dementia care workers will tell you that they’ve experienced good and bad days with their client’s. Your job is to try your best to foster the good days and the good moments for the client without putting strains on their daily lives.

Remember that most formal diagnoses of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, are irreversible. They all worsen over time and unfortunately, there is no known cure yet. Due to this, you should be realistic about what constitutes success during the progression of the disease. A successful dementia care worker is one who can assure that the client is as safe and as comfortable and content with their life as possible.

Taking Care of Your Own Wellbeing

If you are facing challenges or struggling with a particularly difficult patient, don’t be afraid to speak to your colleagues or employer for support. Providing care is not easy, let alone for someone with dementia, and there will be moments when you need support.

It’s important to be able to talk to someone about your worries and address your concerns. Bottling your feelings up will affect your wellbeing (and the wellbeing of the person you’re caring for) in the long run. It’s equally as important for your physical health and psychological wellbeing that you take breaks from work and find time for yourself.

Care Worker Vacancies Near You

Although some symptoms are shared amongst many people with dementia, the impacts of the disease and how they should be dealt with vary.

You can search for care worker jobs, with Allied Healthcare in your area, using our Job Search feature, and start helping people who suffer from dementia.

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