As a family caregiver, you naturally want to go the extra mile to make sure your loved one is cared for with compassion through each stage of dementia. However, you've recently met a roadblock now that they are in the middle stage where certain tasks are no longer manageable on their own. During the middle stages of dementia, memory loss, declining motor scales and coexisting health conditions can all add up to struggles with personal hygiene. Whether your loved one is balking at your help or you feel uncomfortable helping with things such as toileting, you can use these strategies to make this critical part of your loved one's daily routine easier for everyone.
Use Visual Aids
Seniors with dementia may be able to handle things such as wiping after toileting and washing during a bath by themselves. However, they may struggle with remembering the sequence of events that must take place. Try creating a step-by-step guide to taking a shower or using the restroom that includes both words in large print along with pictures. Then, place it in the restroom, and help your loved one refer to it as needed. This allows them to maintain some independence while still getting everything accomplished.
Recruit Help From a Neutral Party
In home health care is an option that allows your loved one to keep their dignity while still ensuring that they get clean. Professional caregivers are familiar with the stages of dementia and are trained to encourage your loved one to do as much as they can independently without putting their safety at risk. Seniors also tend to be more willing to accept help from someone who has a professional demeanor versus a loved one.
As dementia progresses, seniors may struggle with finding the bathroom on time or even recognizing when they need to go. Have a doctor assess your loved one for physical causes of incontinence that can be managed with medication such as a urinary tract infection. Then, provide visual cues to help your loved one find the restroom. For example, you could place a picture of a toilet on the door, or you could use brightly colored non-skid rugs to highlight this area. While reminding your loved one to go ever one to two hours helps, this is another area where you may need to arrange for in home care to protect your loved one's dignity.
You've done many things for your loved one since they were first diagnosed with dementia, and this is just another challenge that you will learn to overcome. By being willing to accept help as you guide your loved one through the next stage of dementia, you can keep them comfortable and ensure they continue to enjoy the best quality of life possible.