Top 10 Caregiver Tips When Dealing With Dementia

by Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

1. Realize you cannot control everything. In truth, not much of anything except how you react to things around you.
2. Remember, “Done Is Better Than Perfect!” Don’t try to do it all yourself. Allow others to do it their way too!
3. Make a checklist of the tasks you have to do. Than make a list of how each task makes you feel. Be honest. You just might be amazed what you find out about yourself. It can hurt sometimes, but you must be honest to move forward. It will make it easier to ask for help when you need it.
4. Schedules, consistencies, and patterns set up early can be a valuable tool as the disease progresses.
5. Remember a name isn’t important. It’s our connections that count!
6. Modeling a behavior to a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be very effective. You want them to be happy, well then you need to be happy.
7. When you understand where the anger comes from, theirs and your own, then and only then can you change your approach and be effective in reducing combative behaviors.
8. How you choose to look at the world and how you choose to live your life will determine the memories you create not only for yourself, but others in your life.
9. Falling into old patterns of setting expectations of a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be frustrating for all. Remember to meet them where they are. They no longer can come to you.
10. Watch for signs that you or others are trying to “FREEZE FRAME™” someone into being who you were comfortable with in the past. Remember, all of our lives are consistently changing. We have no right to move forward in our own life and try to make to make them live in the past.
11. Use the tool: Your Memory Chip ™. The rules are simple. When caring for someone with dementia, focus on three things. Is the person you are caring for - SAFE, HAPPY, and PAINFREE? It’s amazing how things that bothered you before just won’t anymore!
12. Repeat my mantra daily. “It’s about progress, not perfection.” When you live your life knowing perfection is a trap and that all any of us can really do is to chose to do the best we can with the information and resource we have available to us in any given moment; knowing we can always apply what we have learned and improve next moment in time.

Lori La Bey, is the Founder and CEO of Alzheimer’s Speaks, a US based advocacy group that provides education and support for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She has cared for her mother who has had dementia for the past 30 years. Lori was named the #1 Influencer online for Alzheimer’s by Sharecare with Dr. Oz in November of 2012.

La Bey is a highly sought after speaker, trainer, and advocate for new delivery systems and attitudes towards those with memory loss. Her programs are designed for people with memory loss, caregivers (families and professionals), as well as the public. Her mission is to deliver programs, platforms and collaborations which shift caregiving from crisis to comfort worldwide.

You can contact Lori La Bey through the Alzheimer’s Speaks resource website.