Although a large number of the tasks a caregiver performs for a client on a daily basis are straightforward, not everyone is cut out for the profession. To be an effective caregiver, you need to be prepared for medical emergencies that fall outside the scope of a 9 to 5 schedule. To be qualified to become a caregiver, you will need to possess a set of qualities to provide excellent care to the person with dementia. To help you prepare for issues, we have compiled a list of 7 skills you need to be an effective caregiver for a patient with dementia.
Top Characteristics of a Dementia Caregiver
A caregiver will encounter a large number of situations that require empathy. An individual with dementia can become anxious or angry when they forget an event, lose a wallet, forget an appointment, or have trouble paying a bill. To alleviate the frustration, a talented caregiver will need to have empathy skills.
Show the individual that you understand the situation and help them form a solution to the problem. If the senior lost a purse, it’s important to help them retrace their steps to find the lost possession. Did your loved one forget to pay the electric bill? To prevent this issue in the future, add the due dates of upcoming bills in a calendar. The easiest way to make a senior with dementia comfortable at home is to create an environment that promotes recognition and recollection.
Do not expect your patient to communicate each of their medical issues with you when you see them. An individual with dementia may not notice new health issues such as a cavity, infections, hearing loss, or impaired vision. If you are looking for ways to become a better caregiver, you will need to improve your observation skills to ensure you notice issues such as rashes, influenza, pneumonia, insomnia, impaired vision, or poor hygiene.
Perform a physical evaluation of your loved one when you visit their house each day. If you notice new mental or physical issues, add them to your report. Since your patient may not be able to communicate what’s going on with their health, it’s important for caregivers to detect and diagnose new issues to improve a patient’s life and living conditions.
It is essential for caregivers to have strong communication skills to avoid issues such as arguments, resentment, and anxiety. If the individual with dementia is having difficulty communicating, you will need to continuously reach out to relatives and neighbors to discuss new health issues. Reach out to the patient’s doctor to address concerns with medications and medical treatments.
Once the doctor gives you instructions, you will need to have a discussion with your loved one about the importance of taking their antibiotics each day or performing rehabilitation activities such as walking or stretching. An experienced caregiver should be able to communicate with medical professionals, patients, family members, and acquaintances.
Professional caregivers have a limited amount of time to interact with their patients. During the course of a routine visit, you may be expected to cook meals, check the mail, pay bills, clean the house, do laundry, administer medications, and inspect the health of a patient with dementia. An effective caregiver will possess qualities such as attentiveness, efficiency, trustworthiness, patience, and dependability. Although it’s important to talk with a patient about memories and life achievements, an effective caregiver will need to balance their time between conversing with the client and other duties such as household chores, medical exams, and cooking.
To be qualified to become a caregiver, you will need to have a flexible schedule. This will allow you to handle emergencies with your loved one during the week. As a caregiver, you may be required to perform unexpected visits to the home to help them carry a package inside or move a piece of furniture. In addition, a licensed caregiver should be prepared to travel to a patient’s house to resolve issues such as falling, spilling food, infections, and allergic reactions. It is not uncommon for caregivers to get called into the field to work beyond a 9 to 5 schedule to respond to emergencies.
The way a caregiver responds to situations affects the attitude of the person with dementia. If you’re caring for an individual with dementia, arrive at their house with a positive attitude. Displaying a negative attitude can cause your loved one to become depressed, angry, defeated, or anxious.
As a caregiver, you will need to have the skills necessary to provide your loved one with positive experiences. Your patient may be battling the debilitating symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, disorientation, and hallucinations. Arriving with a positive attitude will help you improve their life and demeanor.
Appropriate Body Language
Although it’s important for a caregiver to have stellar time management skills, it may be more important to display appropriate body language when you visit. While you are cooking a meal or paying a bill, it’s important to engage with your loved one to ensure they know you are interested in them. If your patient is trying to communicate with you when you are washing the dishes or putting away groceries, you will need to maintain eye contact with the patient while you are performing other duties.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Services
If you are struggling to be a caregiver for a family member with dementia, give our team a call by phone at (630) 534-0886. We are a dementia care facility in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois that specializes at caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The staff in our community have excellent communication skills and are adaptive to problems. Our team is trained to provide top-notch memory care services that are designed to alleviate the symptoms of dementia.