Retirement Communities: Caregivers of People With Dementia

Living Well with Dementia: Caregivers of People with Dementia-Part I

by Lisa Clark OTR, Program Coordinator of Living Well with Dementia

In a recent issue of “OT Practice” from the American Occupational Therapy Association, an article is featured about the needs of caregivers for people with dementia.  Occupational therapists are uniquely skilled at considering needs of caregivers because of their orientation toward staying healthy through activity.  Activity for health is important for the person with dementia as well as the caregiver.

The Living Well with Dementia Program offers evaluation, recommendations and individual or group treatment for people with memory issues.  Caregivers are an important support for people dealing with memory loss. 

In addition, there are some helpful hints for caregivers, making their work with their loved ones a little easier.  Sometimes these seem to be the opposite of what one might think is the best care technique.  Decreasing stress on the part of the person with memory issues, in turn helps the caregiver manage more easily.  Some positive strategies include:

  • Make sure information is very simple and concrete — less confusing to the person with dementia
  • Frequently, following along with the story the person with dementia is talking about is much more effective than correcting and trying to re-orient them.  Arguing or trying to reason with the person can be very stressful for them
  • Work on finding a pleasurable activity (preferably a simple one) that the person who is agitated can be re-directed to.
  • Use as many positive words of encouragement as possible.  Avoid constantly reminding the person that she/he has memory problems.

For additional information about our Living Well With Dementia outpatient program, call us today at 207-221-7100.