Assisted Living facilities, including our own, have a constant desire to allow residents to maintain their dignity. Everyone knows that when a loved one gets to a point where more care is needed, the ability to make daily decisions may be compromised. This unfortunately is worse with those who suffer with any form of Dementia. Think about your daily decisions that you have to make upon waking up in the morning. “What time do I wake up?”, “What outfit do I want to wear?”, “What am I going to have for breakfast?”, etc. Most of us have some sort of routine where the answers to these questions require no thought. What would it feel like to suddenly have those options taken away from you?
The goal is to allow seniors, whether they have dementia or not, continue to keep their dignity to make every day decisions for themselves (within their safety limits). Here are some helpful tips for those who are caring for a loved one struggling with this.
- Provide options, not demands. Your loved one may not be able to come up with an answer on their own, but this does not mean that they do not have the capability to make a decision. If you are asking about which outfit they would like to wear for the day, provide them with 2-3 options to choose from. Same idea for meals, provide 2-3 options for them to make a decision on what THEY want to eat. These easy options allow for dignity to be maintained, and allow for a stress-free decision to be made.
- Provide possible answers. Do not overload the individual with questions. Avoid asking questions such as, “Do you know who I am?” or “Do you remember me?”. These questions often create stress or emotional pain. Questions like these could remind the individual that their memory is impaired and it will make them feel as if they are in a spot-light to recall information. Instead of asking these questions, simply introduce yourself when approaching a loved one or who you are caring for (even if you are a wife, husband, daughter, or son). Also, avoid asking open-ended questions. “Yes” or “No” questions allow for the individual to answer without the possibility of embarrassment. For example, do not ask, “What did you have for breakfast?”. Instead ask, “Did you have eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast?” This tip protects both parties from being hurt if the answer is not correct or can not be reached.
- Provide privacy. Caregivers and loved ones often forget how important privacy is to an individual. Privacy measures that a person takes with daily activities should not change when regarding those with dementia or other ailments. If you are assisting a person with changing clothes, taking a bath/shower, or simply going to the restroom, always provide privacy by closing doors. An important tip with closing doors is to always ask or tell the individual that you are going to close the door for privacy. Verbalizing every step you take gives a sense of safety and privacy.
Anderson Oaks Assisted Living hopes that these simple tips will help your loved one feel more dignified, even through the difficult aging process. Help us share this information so that aging seniors all around can continue to live a joyful and full life.