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Wednesday, April 24th, 4pm-5:30pm at Rosener House Adult Day Care. Click HERE & Register Today!
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Dementia Caregiver Tips: Cultivating Confidence Using Positive Approach to Care Methods

Throughout your caregiving journey for a loved one with dementia, you may experience anxiety, guilt, grief, fear, sadness, and frustration as you see your loved one continue to change and decline in cognitive functions.

While these are natural feelings, there are actions you can take that will help you approach caregiving with compassion and respect.

At Kensington Place Redwood City, we understand the complexities many caregivers endure as they continue to support their loved ones.

That’s why we’re devoted to teaching caregivers how to provide the best care possible for their loved ones, such as how to employ the PAC method.

The Positive Approach to Care® (PAC) created by Teepa Snow is a strategy encompassing dementia care tips, training, and skills to better support your loved ones with dementia through all steps of their journey.

As a part of our goal to provide support and guidance to our residents and their families, we recently hosted “Cultivating Confidence as a Caregiver for your Loved One with Dementia.”

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of our event including the discussion topics, understanding dementia care and PAC, and our best dementia caregiver tips.

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

Meet the speaker—Leandra Sims

Our event was led by Leandra Sims, Kensington Memory Care Manager, and PAC-Certified Coach.

Leandra is dedicated to teaching and educating others on dementia and how to shift caregiver perspectives toward the individual with dementia.

With 14 years of senior living expertise, Leandra understands the continual adjustments needed for effective dementia care.

That’s why she continues to create opportunities and positive experiences for our residents and caregivers through her knowledge, laughter, love, and inspiration. She keeps our loved ones with memory loss at the focal point of our care.

Her event presentation shared how to enhance the quality of life for your loved one with dementia and hone in on skills and techniques to better connect, communicate, and provide care with a positive and respectful approach.

Understanding dementia and the PAC philosophy

Dementia is caused by symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive function and memory from degeneration in the cerebral cortex.

One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease.

When dementia begins to affect your loved one, they may become agitated, frustrated, or exhibit other uncommon behavioral issues for short and long periods.

To adjust to this new lifestyle, adopt the PAC approach as your philosophy for providing care.

PAC’s mission is to “change dementia care, one mind at a time”, and do so by incorporating core values for caregivers which base relationships on:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Empowerment
  3. Compassion
  4. Curiosity

The PAC team helps enrich the lives of individuals experiencing brain change by providing positive, educational in-person training for caregivers throughout communities, including webinars, resources, certifications, and educational materials.

Tips for Dementia Caregivers

The more you understand how to care for dementia effectively, the better care you can provide for your loved one.

Whether you’re just beginning your caregiving journey or have been providing care, learn our top dementia caregiver tips.

How to build a connection with your loved one

Establish trust and familiarity to help reduce your loved one’s anxiety, increase overall communication, and restore your connection.

Caregivers who are familiar and trusted are more likely to provide accepted and less restricted care.

  1. Communicate with your loved one openly and effectively so they feel comfortable expressing their needs and emotions.
  2. Incorporate empathy for what your loved one is experiencing and practice active listening into your caregiving approach.

How to effectively care for dementia

Dementia caregiving requires practical caregiving skills that go beyond the basics.

  1. Provide consistency and comfort for your loved one: Establish daily routines to provide a sense of structure; stick to familiar patterns for meals, recreational activities, and bedtime.
  2. Approach with patience and understanding when experiencing challenging behaviors like frustration, sadness, or anxiety.
  3. Create a distraction-free, safe, and stimulating atmosphere for your loved one so that they can focus and improve upon their cognitive functions in a judgment-free space.

Prioritize mental and emotional engagement

The best way to promote mental and emotional well-being for your loved one with dementia is by understanding their perspective and leading with empathy and patience.

Engage in activities and opportunities that help to stimulate cognitive functions and emotions, such as:

  • Memory cafes
  • Games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Music
  • Physical activity

It’s also important to check in with yourself and be aware of your mental and emotional health. Make sure you practice self-care to avoid caregiver burnout.

Encourage physical fitness and health

Adjusting your care to your loved one’s needs and abilities is essential as they progress with brain change.

  • Encourage regular physical activity suited to your loved one’s health and abilities.
  • Ensure your loved one receives a diet suited to their health needs so that they have the energy and nutrition to be their best selves.
  • Follow up with doctor visits and check-ins with healthcare professionals to remain on course for care.

Seek support and resources

Ongoing learning and adaptation are key, as the needs of your loved one may change over time.

  • Attend training and caregiving support groups to continuously stay informed about the progression of dementia and enhance your caregiving skills.
  • Learn how to cope and prioritize the needs of your loved one and yourself by building a support network of peers with whom you can share your experiences.

Technological aids can be valuable tools for dementia caregivers

  • Voice-activated assistants can help assist with daily reminders.
  • GPS trackers can help caregivers keep track of their loved ones with real-time location information.
  • Apps are available for medication management, communication, and cognitive training.
  • Smartwatches and other wearable devices can provide caregivers with real-time health information, like their heart rate and activity levels.

Customize your care

The best way to care for your loved one is by providing care unique to their needs.

  • Know their preferences
  • Understand their actions, reactions, and non-verbal cues
  • Continuously adjust care as dementia progresses
  • Remain patient and empathetic

Tailoring your care to your loved ones’ needs requires ongoing observation, communication, commitment, and respect for your loved one.

Learn more about the PAC method with Kensington Place Redwood City

Utilize our dementia caregiver tips and adopt a Positive Approach to Care® to enhance the quality of life for your loved one.

At Kensington Place Redwood City, we encourage all caregivers to lead positively and respectfully to provide the best caregiving experience.

Remember—you don’t have to go through this journey alone. If caring for your loved one becomes too much, the compassionate Kensington Place Redwood City team is here for you and your family.

Reach out to us to learn more about the PAC approach, our care methods, and memory care at Kensington Place Redwood City.

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