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The Positive Approach to Care: Dementia Caregiving, a Three-Part Series

People who are caregivers to family members with dementia and Alzheimer’s  — know it can be quite a challenge. Sometimes your loved one can’t find the right words to say, or their filter for politeness has been removed, creating tension when you’re trying to help.

To help turn caregivers into better “care partners,” The Kensington Falls Church hosts an event series to explore the Positive Approach to Care (PAC)

PAC offers support to caregivers, both professional and family members, to educate them to change their mindset to be more empathetic, open, and offer greater assistance. This training helps caregivers reduce burnout, and interact with people experiencing dementia in a productive and healthy way.

Join the Journey of Dementia Care

Hosted by our Director of Memory Care and PAC Certified Trainer Tonya Embly, this series explains the PAC philosophy established by Teepa Snow, a dementia care and education specialist with over 30 years of experience dealing with people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Positive Approach to Care is a philosophy that’s ingrained into The Kensington’s person-centered approach and incorporated into the training of all of our staff members, in all communities.

Join us in our 3-part virtual event and read on to learn more about the three primary areas that can help you care for a loved one with memory loss.

Finding Confidence in Caregiving For Your Loved One with Dementia

Dementia caregiving is hard and will be draining. Caregivers are often too hard on themselves and don’t always know how to do or say the right thing when dealing with their loved ones with dementia.

Many caregivers, often adult children of aging parents, haven’t had proper training on how to deal with a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This can lead to frustration, burnout, and quarrelsome conversations at times.

PAC equips caregivers with the knowledge they need to improve their self-esteem and confidence, allowing them to feel more capable as caregivers.

Maintaining Enjoyable Conversations With Your Loved One Experiencing Dementia 

People with dementia might know what they’re trying to say but just can’t get it out right sometimes. Other times they will be forgetful, easily distracted, or become irritable as if a switch has been flipped. This will lead them, and you, to feeling frustrated at times. 

Maintaining an enjoyable conversation with your loved one will require a different approach to conversation. One that’s simpler and uses shorter sentences and fewer questions. If possible, try not to mention a lot of names or ask too difficult of questions. 

Listening to familiar music or singing favorite songs together is also a proven way to spark pleasant past memories.

Sometimes things may get tense, which can happen if your loved one becomes anxious, irritable, or confused. In these challenging situations, your loved one may become argumentative. You should never raise your voice or tell a lie to your loved one to try and calm them down. This is counterproductive, and only increases the stress between you and your loved one. 

PAC teaches caregivers how to smoothly handle and navigate these tough situations as they occur, by showing empathy and acknowledging your loved one’s legitimate dissatisfaction at the moment so it can pass quickly.

Remember, during these troubling times, it’s important for you to speak with sincere eye contact and in a loving tone that shows you love and care about them.

Overcoming the Physical Challenges of Dementia Caregiving and Burnout

Most dementia caregivers are not licensed professionals, they’re often the children or the spouse of someone with memory loss. Overcoming the challenges of caregiving will require more education and tips to cope with the stress.

One of the things we most often see in caregivers is a decline in their own health, due to the stress and pressure of providing for their loved one. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will be crucial for relieving stress. Meditation, yoga, and joining a caregiver support group will also help you recover and feel refreshed to continue providing care for your loved one.

One useful technique for helping your loved one with dementia is using the Hand Under Hand (HUH) method. This involves placing your hand under their hand to guide them to help them eat, bathe themselves, or perform a routine daily activity. According to Teepa Snow, this technique is useful for controlling situations before they “get out of hand,” and can calm your loved one during a time of crisis. This technique is one of the many useful ways you can reduce burnout and stress from occurring.

Transitioning into a Community Setting When the Role Becomes too Much

There comes a time when providing care for your loved one with dementia may become too much for you to handle on your own. In addition to caring for them emotionally and physically, you’re also cleaning their home, maintaining their yard, and paying their bills on their behalf. At a certain point, this can become unsustainable, especially if you’re managing your own life at home.

Either because of stress or not having enough support or expertise, you may consider moving your loved one into a community setting that can provide around-the-clock care, medication administration, and help with completing their daily activities of living.

There are numerous benefits of moving your loved one into an assisted living community setting, especially one with its own memory care community. These communities feature expert-level care from a loving staff, dining services, life enrichment activities, on-site memory care therapies, on-site rehabilitation, and multiple levels of care for people with memory loss.

Memory care communities are specifically designed for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. These environments maximize your loved one’s safety, in a calming and comfortable living space.

State-of-the-art wander management technology is also used in memory care communities to keep track of residents’ whereabouts, especially during the later hours when they may be more prone to wandering.

The Kensington Promise

The Kensington Falls Church is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care located in Northern Virginia.

Our residence offers a full spectrum of memory care support across two of our memory care neighborhoods — Connections and Haven.

Our Connections neighborhood is designed for residents who are in the early-to-mid stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Haven is for residents who are in the mid-to-late stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Unlike some senior living communities, The Kensington Falls Church features a team of licensed nurses working around the clock, able to administer injections and other medical care, including diabetes management.

We also offer on-site therapy, rehabilitation, psychiatric and psychological services, and a physician’s office on-site.

At The Kensington Falls Church, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

If you’re a caregiver who needs more help or is considering if an assisted living community is right for your loved one, please reach out to learn more about our wonderful amenities.


Further Reading:

To learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care at The Kensington Falls Church, click below or give us a call today for any questions. We promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.


Additional Recommended Reading:

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