Maintaining a journal can help ease the challenges of dementia caregiving.
Dementia caregiving is a fluid, ever-evolving process. One day can be calm and peaceful, with your senior loved one taking pleasure in activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day might be fraught with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. Just what will today bring?
Identifying how to best handle the difficult behaviors and to ensure life is as satisfying and comfortable as possible for a senior with dementia could be made easier through a handy tool: journaling. Here’s an easy method to implement it in your daily caregiving routine, and how to best make use of your journal to increase quality of life for your senior loved one:
- Track symptoms and care needs every day. Your notes don’t have to be lengthy, but jot down any issues that occur, such as time of day and what might have sparked the issues. Additionally, include tasks your senior loved one was able to accomplish independently, as well as the ones that were challenging. At the conclusion of each week, look back over the behaviors to find out if a pattern can be noticed – such as for example, increased agitation before meals or bedtime.
- Track eating habits. Note which foods are most popular with the senior, which are least difficult for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks are being consumed and also at what times throughout the day, etc. Don’t forget to record beverages, to ensure the older adult is taking in adequate amounts of water to stay hydrated. In examining your notes, you could find that six smaller sized meals through the course of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for instance.
- Track safety considerations. Maintaining safety is a high priority in dementia care, with an array of dangers which could result from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, for example, thinking a household cleaner may actually be a sports drink. Securing dangerous items or placing them in out-of-reach locations is essential, and maintaining a summary of changes made to the home environment for safety’s sake can be very helpful to notify other family members to potential risks.
It is also a good idea to take your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns recorded to his or her attention. This enables you to be completely prepared in advance of appointments with concerns you want to get answered, capitalizing on the limited time available to speak with doctors.
For lots more tips, as well as specialized in-home care that enhances safety while maximizing independence, purpose, and meaning, reach out to Relevar Home Care today at 1-888-493-3513. As the experts in dementia care and home health in Oakland County, MI and the surrounding areas, we are here to help make each day the best it can be for you and your loved one.