Five R’s and A Big F in Dementia Care

Reinforce.  Tell them they are doing well, and you are proud of them.  This can be done with a touch and soothing words no matter the stage they are in.  A great deal of reinforcement is necessary.  This can be difficult for an adult child to do with a parent, but without it, loved ones tend to give up and withdraw.  Keeping them engaged through reinforcement creates a positive environment for care.

Reassure.  When things are not going well, and you are having a rough time, reassure them that everything is fine, and you will be with them no matter what.  Reassure that you are a team and will get through this together.

Rescue.  Sometimes people with the best intentions place your loved one in an awkward position by asking questions in social situations that would be difficult for them to answer.  Jump right in and rescue them with the answer and reinforcement to your loved one as a way to acknowledge them in the conversation.

 Redirect.  There are times when it is better to change the subject or activity and move on to something else.  By redirecting, the slate is wiped clean for your loved one.

Reassess.  People with dementia are unable to tell us when noises are too loud, interruptions are causing frustration, too many movements through their space, feeling to cold, etc.  Are they avoiding certain areas, is the light too dim, is there too much noise from the TV, is it too hot or cold?  Constantly reassess the environment for compatibility with your loved one.

Forgive.  Sadly, a person with dementia asked why we can’t just forgive them when difficult things happen in care.  Wow!  Yes, forgiveness is what is needed but people with dementia should forgive.

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