When caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, it’s essential to remind yourself you are capable, you ARE doing a good job, and you ARE making a difference! And while you are self-affirming, there are some additional “Rs” which can help both you and the person in your care; six of them, to be exact.
What Are the Six Rs in Alzheimer’s Care?
The six Rs in Alzheimer’s care are steps that will help you better manage some of the more challenging components of dementia:
- Reassure: What was once familiar and routine may now be frightening and alarming. This can include loud noises, waning hours of sunlight, unknown visitors, and sometimes even hallucinations. Offer words of support such as, “You’re safe. It’s ok. I am going to stay here with you.”
- Reassess: Make an effort to discover the root cause for the person’s fear or agitation. Make sure to investigate any potential physical causes, such as thirst, hunger, pain or discomfort. If you are uncertain, check in with the person’s physician for direction.
- Reconsider: Give consideration to the way the specific trigger is impacting the person. Remind yourself that these behaviors or reactions are not deliberate. They are the results of the disease of dementia. A little bit of empathy can go a long way toward reducing their stress and yours.
- Redirect: Find a calming task, or change the environment. If the noise of the dishwasher is disturbing the individual, simply moving into the family room to play a card game may be all that is needed to restore a sense of calm.
- Relax: Any agitation you are conveying, either through words or body posture, will probably worsen the situation. Take a deep breath, relax your body, and use a calm, quiet voice. Make sure to designate sufficient time away from your care duties for self-care too.
- Review: Once the person is calm again, reflect back on the situation to determine what worked (or didn’t work). Keeping a journal is a great way to track coping mechanisms and their effectiveness.
Caring for a person with dementia is a selfless undertaking that, while rewarding and fulfilling, may also be exceedingly challenging and emotionally draining. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Allow ample time for activities and socialization with others to ensure you stay rested and refreshed.
If you are finding it difficult to step away from your caregiving role on a consistent basis, give Serenity Home Care a call. We can speak with you in the comfort of your home to talk through the difficulties you are facing and to offer more Alzheimer’s care tips, along with in-home Alzheimer’s care support. We are here to help whenever you need us. Reach out to us at 250-590-8098, or contact us online for assistance.