Use the 6 Rs to Optimize Dementia Care for Seniors

You ARE making a difference! You ARE capable! You ARE doing an excellent job! These are just a few positive affirmations you may need to repeat to yourself if you provide dementia care for seniors. And while you’re self-affirming, there are several additional “Rs” that can help both you and the person in your care; six of them, to be exact.

What Are the Six Rs of Dementia Care?

The six Rs in Alzheimer’s care are steps to help you better manage a number of the more difficult components of dementia care for seniors:

  1. Reassure: What an aging adult once took for granted as their normal routine may now cause fear and anxiety. This may include loud noises, waning daylight hours, unknown visitors, and sometimes even hallucinations. Offer words of reassurance such as, “It’s ok. You’re safe. I am going to stay here with you.”
  2. Reassess: Make sure to address the root cause for the senior’s fear or agitation. Make sure to investigate any potential physical causes, such as hunger, thirst, pain or discomfort. If you’re unsure, check in with the person’s doctor for direction.
  3. Reconsider: Take into account how the particular trigger is affecting the senior. Remind yourself that none of these behaviors or reactions are deliberate. They are the results of the disease of dementia. A little empathy can go a long way towards reducing your stress, and theirs.
  4. Redirect: Help bring their attention to a less stressful activity, or completely change their environment if needed. If the noise of the dishwasher is troubling the individual, simply going into the family room to play a card game might be all that’s necessary to restore a sense of calm.
  5. Relax: Showing even the slightest sign of frustration through your words or body language is more than likely going to make the situation more stressful. Take a good deep breath, relax your body, and use a calm, quiet voice. Make sure to designate sufficient time away from your care duties for self-care too.
  6. Review: Once the person is calm again, reflect back on the situation to consider what worked (or didn’t work). Keeping a journal is a good way to track coping mechanisms and their effectiveness.

Providing dementia care for seniors is a selfless endeavor that, while rewarding and fulfilling, can also be extremely challenging and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Allow plenty of time for activities and socialization with others to ensure you stay rested and refreshed.

If you’re struggling with balancing your role providing dementia care for seniors with your personal life, give Radiant Health Services a call. We can speak with you in the comfort of home to talk through the challenges you’re facing and to offer more dementia care tips as well as in-home dementia care support. We’re here to help whenever you need us. Connect with us at (240) 673-6377 or contact us online for assistance with home care in Annapolis, Baltimore, Bowie and the nearby areas.

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