|Top News > lifestyle|
Brereton gives advice to informal caregivers
By Patricia Thangaraj
Caregivers need to find ways of keeping their relatives who are suffering with dementia involved in activities that peak their interest.
This was the message that President of the Alzheimer’s Association, Pamela Brereton, gave to informal caregivers recently at the seminar under the theme “Informal Caregivers” held as part of Senior Citizens Week at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
She said these activities could include playing cards, listening to music or going on bus trips.
Get creative and keep changing up the activities so that the dementia person does not get bored.
It is also good if you can get other groups such as grandchildren, church members and previous colleagues from work, involved in spending time with them.
When communicating with them, you need to stand in front of them and maintain eye contact. Frame your questions in such a manner where they can give you a yes or no answer. Speak slowly, clearly, repeat when necessary and avoid Bajan dialect, said Brereton.
Since dementia sufferers also tend to wander around the house and get into things that they should not be involved with, it is important to secure your house in a similar manner that you would do for a small child. Block sockets and other power outlets, place sharp objects and hazardous chemicals out of reach, remove rugs and install a fire alarm.
Considering that mobility is also an issue, install handrails in bathrooms and other places where necessary.
Since caring for persons with dementia can be stressful on informal caregivers, especially since they are not professionally trained to uphold such a task, it is important that caregivers also take good care of their spiritual, physical, psychological and emotional health, said Brereton.
Therefore, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper exercise, informal caregivers can also relax their minds by listening to soothing music.
Like any other situation, it helps when you have someone to take to, especially if that listening ear is someone who can sympathize with what you are going through. In this regard, do not be ashamed to talk reveal to someone that you have a relative with dementia that you are helping to take care of and some of the issues that you face in this regard.
Joining the Alzheimer’s Association and reading books and other material on the subject area also helps, she added.
If the situation arises where you can no longer cope with caring for that dementia relative on your own, then do not feel guilty in finding and placing him/her in a good facility. In cases like these, you can become partners with the owners and caregivers of the facility in question and still have an active part in the life of that dementia relative by visiting regularly to talk to him/her and taking him/her out on visits to different places across the island.