Caring at home

The caregiver’s job is to figure out what the patient is responding to

More and more, families are choosing to care for a loved one with dementia at home. If you have made this choice, then one of the most important messages for you is to recognize that you will need help – you cannot do it alone.

Community support health teams are trained professionals who will come to your home to observe the patient in their environment and assess their behaviours.

These teams will work with you to develop strategies and approaches to manage difficult behaviours through different stages of the illness.

Such teams are fresh eyes that have the advantage of not being emotionally involved with the patient. They are trained in the art of observation and can help families find solutions to make responsive behaviours less intrusive in the home environment – for the patient, the caregiver and loved ones.

Their job is to observe the home environment and provide an in-depth analysis of possible triggers for certain behaviours. They offer strategies and solutions to diminish behaviours and increase the quality of life for all involved.

Finding the answer is never easy

“Responsive” is the new term to describe the behaviours associated with dementia. This description suggests that whatever the behaviour is it is in response to a need not being met – there is a reason the individual is behaving the way they are. The caregiver’s job is to figure out what the patient is responding to.

The challenge for caregivers is learning how to engage with the person living with dementia on a day-to-day basis and making them feel valuable. To do so, help the dementia patient in ways that are:

  • Non-confrontational.
  • Positive.
  • Supportive.

There is no ‘cookie-cutter’ answer to the causes for behaviours because each person is an individual with individual experiences, life circumstances and situations. Never assume.

Watch this compelling caregiver series: A Caregiver’s experience with BPSD: Peter’s Story