Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a fluid, ever-evolving undertaking. One day can be calm and peaceful, with your family member taking pleasure in activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day might be filled with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. Exactly what will today bring?
Figuring out how to best handle the difficult behaviors and to ensure life is as enjoyable and comfortable as it can be for a loved one with dementia can be made easier through a simple tool: journaling. Here is how you can implement it in your everyday caregiving routine, and how to utilize your journal to increase quality of life for your senior loved one:
- Monitor symptoms and care needs every single day. Your notes do not have to be lengthy, but write down any difficulties experienced, particularly time of day and what might have caused the issues. Also include activities the person was able to complete independently, in addition to the ones that were difficult. At the conclusion of every week, review the behaviors to figure out if a pattern can be noticed – such as heightened agitation before meals or bedtime.
- Track eating habits. Take note of which foods are most attractive to your loved one, which are least difficult for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks are being eaten and also at what times during the day, etc. Remember to include beverages, to be sure the individual is taking in sufficient amounts of water to stay hydrated. In looking at your notes, you might find that six smaller meals through the span of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for example.
- Track safety concerns. Maintaining safety is a leading priority in dementia care, with a wide range of dangers which can result from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, such as thinking a household cleaner may actually be a sports drink. Securing hazardous items or placing them in out-of-reach locations is extremely important, and keeping a list of changes made to the home environment for safety’s sake can be very helpful to alert other friends and family to potential risks.
Additionally, it is a great idea to bring your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns recorded to his or her attention. This enables you to be completely prepared in advance of appointments with concerns you want to get answered, capitalizing on the limited time available to talk with doctors.
Get in touch with our highly trained and knowledgeable dementia care experts for lots more tips and for specialized in-home care that improves safety while maximizing independence, purpose, and meaning – making each day the very best it can be for someone with dementia. Find out how CareWorks Health Services provides the kind of dementia care Huntington Beach families trust most. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in California, please visit our Service Area page.