New Data Provides Tips for Dementia Caregivers in Oklahoma
In March 2022, 2 News Oklahoma reported the increased prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and the need for people to be more aware of early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Early MCI detection can identify people who have a more significant chance of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Recognizing the signs and receiving an early detection can create a path to medications and lifestyle changes to lessen the risk of dementia.
Even if Alzheimer’s is unavoidable with early detection, seniors and their caregivers can begin the planning process earlier.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6.5 people over 65 currently live with the most common form of dementia. That figure is expected to jump to 13 million by 2050.
Sixty-seven thousand seniors in Oklahoma live with Alzheimer’s. It takes the strength of over 129,000 family caregivers to support them. The Sooner State sees 150 people turn 65 every day. The need for care is now.
Herb Magley was one of those heroic family members who supported his wife, Gail, for over a decade. He’s now on a mission with the Alzheimer’s Association of Oklahoma to help educate people embarking on a similar journey.
Tips for Dementia Caregivers
Magley drafted a list of 25 tips for dementia caregivers that doctors and fellow knowledgeable caretakers have reviewed. To provide an overview of the document, let’s look at some of the most critical aspects of providing care.
1. Seek Support
According to the news story, Magley provided care for two years before realizing his need for outside assistance and support. Providing Alzheimer’s or dementia care is not a journey to go on alone.
At the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia, reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association in Oklahoma and start preparing by attending support groups or counseling. Get the information you need before it’s too late.
Support groups can benefit caretakers and curb causes of burnout by offering tips on:
- Relieving stress and anxiety
- Finding new dementia-friendly activities
- Socializing and stabilizing mental health
2. Establish a Routine
To prevent daily stress, have an outline of how each day works. Keep meals, medication times, and activities around the same parts of the day so that you won’t neglect any aspects of care.
Caregivers can reduce the chance of things that can cause stress or anxiety by offering similar patterns every day. The person with dementia might not recognize it, but sticking to a schedule can be helpful.
3. Adjust Your Methods of Communication
Being patient goes a long way in being a dementia caregiver. Learning to live in the reality of a loved one with cognitive impairment will make things a lot easier. Agree with their mistakes in word-finding and try to decode their perceptions. Don’t correct them and tell them they’re wrong.
People with dementia, just like anyone else, want to feel heard. If your loved one is telling stories you know not to be accurate, just go with it. If they’re telling a story for the 100th time, just go with it. Arguing and correcting will not go over well.
When providing care to a loved one with dementia, do not:
- Use the phrase, “don’t you remember?”
- Infantilize them with baby talk
- Make fun or tease them
- Argue or correct
- Talk about them when they can hear you
4. What causes good and bad days with dementia?
Keeping a journal of your caregiver’s journey can give insight into what causes good and bad days with dementia. Live in that moment for as long as possible when a good day comes around.
Recognizing factors that can cause fear or anxiety in a person can prevent bad days for people with dementia. Avoiding loud noises or frequent visitors can mitigate potential behavior triggers.
Learning to redirect combative behavior can help you get in the ‘good day zone’ more frequently. Distract your loved one with things like music, household chores, or a photo album. Even if the towels do not get folded professionally, the person you care for will feel valued and have a purposeful activity.
5. Considering Memory Care
No matter how much you stick to a plan and execute care, everyone’s journey is different. There may come a day when the burden of caregiving cannot be relieved by support groups. Caregiver burnout can cause neglect toward your loved one and damage you physically and mentally.
Respite care, adult day programs, and other family members can be an asset in providing care. Still, sometimes it’s better to let caring professionals take over and do the “heavy lifting,” as Magley says.
Memory care allows relationships to go back to what they were in some capacity. There are more opportunities for happy times when you are no longer the primary caregiver. Let your family be a family again with the gift of memory care.
Memory Care at Jasmine Estates of Oklahoma City
Memory care is available in southwest Oklahoma City near the Lakeridge Run neighborhood at Jasmine Estates. Our dementia care community celebrates the lives of those living with memory loss. Specialized caregivers who understand the challenges of living with dementia provide personalized memory care services while involving family members as much as possible.
Trellis is the signature memory care program available to residents. It’s a philosophy that focuses on supporting individuals to enjoy a meaningful life as much as possible. Let our team do the heavy lifting.
Contact us for a tour of comforting memory care in Oklahoma City.