Mistakes to Avoid When Caring for Someone with Dementia

We know how difficult it can be, caring for someone with dementia. You do all the research you possibly can, search the web and buy books, but there are some situations you can’t foresee and that seem impossible to prepare for. At Universal Care, our carers have not only completed training courses and research on dealing with dementia, but have experience caring for a huge range of people with dementia with different requirements, and in a variety of different scenarios. Through their expertise and experiences, we have come up with a few mistakes to avoid when caring for a loved one with dementia.

1/ Don’t Argue
This is easier said than done. A person with dementia sees the world very differently from the carer, so it is best to be agreeable and relaxed when talking to them. If they say they haven’t eaten all day when you know that they have just finished lunch, there is no point in contradicting them. You will have to learn to let things go and avoid tension through trying to step into their world. Really listen to what they are saying, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense from your perspective.

2/ Don’t mention problematic topics
Asking whether someone remembers something is very easy to do, but can be very embarrassing and frustrating for the person with dementia. Stick to simple subjects, or topics that they bring up themselves and be very aware of mentioning anyone who has died. This may be a passing comment for you, but for them it could bring back all the emotions as if they had only just found out for the first time. Do not say “calm down” – be reassuring and understanding without disagreeing or aggravating the situation.

3/ Everyone is different.
Don’t treat everyone with dementia the same. The trajectory of dementia is very different for each person. Yes there are guidelines to take into account, but everyone has different painpoints, different experiences, different coping mechanisms and obviously, different personality traits. Take these into account and enjoy their individuality! Always stay positive, verbally and non-verbally. 


4/ People with dementia aren’t children. 
Don’t treat them like infants. Yes, you may need to talk slowly and simply, but this doesn’t mean you should talk down to them. It is important that they keep socialising  without being patronised. Acknowledge that their  intelligence hasn’t diminished, just their ability to understand you and to verbally express themselves. 5/ Not taking care of yourself
We understand that looking after someone with dementia is tiring and time consuming, but that doesn’t mean it should be prioritised over your own health and well-being. Our carers are here to ensure that you can enjoy the company of your loved one, without it becoming too stressful or taking over your life. 6/ Delaying care when they need it most
It can be hard to let go, but it is essential for both your well-being, and your loved-one’s safety and health. In the later stages of dementia they may need constant company and supervision, which you can not provide. At Universal Care, we offer live-in and daily-carers who are specially trained to provide care to those with dementia, so no matter what stage of dementia your loved one is at, get in touch with our friendly team. We can discuss options with you and give advice on the best care option for your situation, so give us a ring on 01494 678811 or drop us a message at care@universal-care.co.uk.
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