Joan Sauers, author of Forgetiquette – what to do when someone you love begins to forget, shares six tips for caring for someone with dementia.
According to Joan, having a loved one with dementia is no laughing matter, but a little humour can help. Joan Sauers knows as she cared for both her father and father-in-law with dementia. In her book Forgetiquette, she helps to relieve the frustration of dealing with someone with dementia, while offering practical advice that will help you help them. Above all she reminds you that, though it may feel like the loneliest job in the world, you are not alone.
Here are her top six tips for caring for someone with dementia.
Never tell them to remember. Memory is not an act of will.
Connect them to their life through music. It has magical and mystical effects.
With dementia, you need to be open about it. Especially in the early stages you can ask them what they need from you.
You should get them to a lawyer that specialises in elder law, or geriatric law because while they still have their marbles it’s a good idea for them to make end-of-life decisions. So either contributing to a living will or their final will, you want them to be in charge because you don’t have to want to have to make those decisions when it’s too late for them to.
Only tell them good news because if you tell them good news, even if they forget it, they’ll still have a sort of happy feeling left over. Whereas if you have bad news for them, you’re going to have to tell them over and over and it will contribute to their misery and their sense of insecurity.
Probably the most important tip in dealing with dementia sufferers overall is – have a sense of humour. It will save your life.