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MAY 13/2016

Top tips for caring for a person with dementia

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There are approximately 700,000 informal carers taking care of their loved ones. Alzheimer’s Research UK has estimated that by 2017 there won’t be enough informal carers to look after older people who need care. Here are some top tips for care workers who help people with dementia live independently in their own homes.

Person-centred care

Each person is different, and with over 100 causes of dementia, their experience of the condition will be unique to them. Use two-way communication to reach a mutual decision and ensure the care plan is centred on the service user’s individual needs.

Allow individuals time to respond

People with dementia may need more time to respond to conversations or any requests. Be patient and give individuals plenty of time to reply.  

Maintain dignity and respect

Treat others how you would wish for you and your loved ones to be cared for: with dignity and respect.  

Express one idea at a time

Use clear and straightforward language to express one idea at a time. 

Communication includes non-verbal cues

People with dementia will use a non-verbal language cues to make sense of what is being said. Choose your words carefully, while paying attention to your facial expressions, gestures, and the tone and pitch of your voice.

Put yourself in their shoes

If the service user develops inappropriate or unusual behaviour, remember that there will be a reason for this change. You may be able to find out why they are expressing this behaviour through compassion and by putting yourself in their shoes. 

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Live in the moment 

People with dementia may not be able to remember what they did today, but they might remember their childhood or their first job. Use the knowledge you have of the individual, and their history to join them in their conversation, in the time they are in. 

Keep distractions to a minimum

Minimise distractions such as background noise to help the service user focus on the task in hand.

Report any concerns

If at any point you are concerned about the service user, please speak to your branch manager. 

Do you care for an individual with dementia? Share your top tips with us. You can also check out our careers in care by clicking here.

Read our other articles on dementia and care:

Sources: Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, NHS Choices

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