Tip Sheet

Feeding and Nutrition (for dementia)

  • Avoid food fights. Make mealtime as pleasant as possible. Encourage someone to eat, but don’t demand, cajole, or threaten.
     
  • Someone with dementia may not know what he/she wants to eat. If giving choices, give only two things to choose between. Even if a choice is made, the person may not want it when it is presented. Don’t take it personally. If you know his/her favorite foods, have them available for back up. Favorite foods might change.
     

Could It Be Their Brain? A Frontotemporal Dementia Checklist

A Frontotemporal Dementia Checklist for Family and Friends

Downsizing a Home: A Checklist for Caregivers

Introduction

Moving is a high-stress life event, the experts tell us, and they're right. Whether it's cross-town or cross-country, whether to a small apartment or a large suburban home, tackling the organizing, packing, discarding, cleaning, paperwork and the myriad other tasks is a major challenge.

When you're older and moving from the family home to a new smaller residence, possibly in a new community or your adult child's home, sorting through decades of family history and possessions can feel overwhelming—even paralyzing.

Dental Care (for dementia)

  • Dental hygiene is important for overall health. Poor dental hygiene may lead to heart disease, gingivitis, stroke, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease. In addition to causing bad breath, inadequate dental hygiene can also affect one's ability to eat, chew, and talk. Certain medications can cause "dry mouth." Dry mouth makes it more difficult to eat and swallow, produce saliva, and causes tongue irritation.
     

Communication (for dementia)

  • People respond to our body posture, facial expression, and tone of voice more than our actual words. Your upbeat mood can help keep the person you are dealing with remain calmer.
  • You need to pay attention to the non-verbal clues the person you are caring for is giving you. Understanding his/her feelings may be more important than the content of the conversation. Acknowledge feelings whenever possible.

Dressing and Grooming (for dementia)

  • Simplify clothing choices by putting out an outfit for the care receiver to wear, or give an option of two outfits. Do not ask open-ended questions like, "What do you want to wear?"—this kind of question can overwhelm someone with dementia.
     

Toileting (for dementia)

  • Set up the bathroom to make it as easy as possible for the person to get on to and off of the toilet, e.g. having a raised toilet seat and grab bars.
     
  • Notice when the person gives a sign about needing to use the toilet, e.g. agitation, fidgeting, tugging on clothing, wandering, touching the genital area. Have a routine and take the person to the bathroom on a regular schedule, e.g. every two hours. You may have to respond quickly if someone indicates they need to use the bathroom.
     

Incontinence (for dementia)

Talk to the physician to see if medication, enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection might be causing the problem, especially if there is a sudden onset of incontinence.
 

Working Successfully with Home Care Services

You are the caregiver who has finally conceded that “outside” help is needed and you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve done your homework (or not) and hired home care workers. You’ve already sorted out whether to use an agency or to hire private contractors. You may have made your decisions with reams of information or with little information at all. Paid caregivers are now in place to help care for your loved one.

Saying ‘Yes’ to Offers of Help

How do you respond when someone asks, “Is there anything I can do?” More likely than not, your response is, “Oh no, I’m okay.” And when friends say “Let me know if I can help you,” do you call them?

It is sometimes difficult to say we need help—so we don’t. Learning to say “yes” to such offers is really a gift you give to yourself as well as to the person who offers. It’s simple, really: People feel good when they do something nice for someone else. And when they help by providing respite and assistance in a caregiving situation, it’s even better.

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