You might feel helpless when you find that your beloved family member has dementia and at a loss as to how to care for him/her. It is no need to worry for that as there are abundant resources and suitable organisations in the community to assist you. Remember the seven tips below, and be assured that you can do it.
1. Utilise community resources
Learn to care for your loved ones
- Join caregiver training courses offered by different organisations to learn how to care for loved ones with dementia
- Research online to get a basic understanding of dementia (e.g. JCCPA website: https://www.pdsp.hk/)
Join a support group
- Connect with people who also have a family member with dementia to get support, share experiences and release emotions
Organise training for your domestic helper
- Help them learn more about dementia
- Give them confidence to care for your family member
- Ease the pressure of care for the helper
2. Choose care services smartly
The form of training for people with dementia depends on their stage of cognitive decline. Choosing the right service organisation is an important decision. Consider these factors when making your choice:
- Is the organisation set up specially for people with dementia?
- Does the organisation have activities and residential areas specially designed for people with dementia?
- Does it have rich experience in caring for people with dementia?
- How does it deal with the behavioural issues of people with dementia?
- Does it offer training and activities targeted for different degrees of dementia?
Three categories of care services are available locally:
Day care centres
- If the situation allows, arrange for the people with dementia to visit specialised centres to join cognitive training and activities to slow down the deterioration of cognitive degeneration.
Short or long - term residential service
- If needed, arrange for your family member who is with dementia to live in an experienced, safe and comfortable care facility
Outreach home training service
- Training services conducted at your home to allow your family member with dementia who cannot attend a day-care centre to still in regular training.
3. Set up a long-term care plan
- Plan the cost of care for your family member with dementia
- Tap into community resources and give your family member with dementia long-term appropriate care
- Encourage and take your family member with dementia to make a Will when he/she is still mentally capable, so as to ensure his/her assets are distributed according to his/her wish when he/she passed away
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA)
- Encourage and take your family member with dementia to make an EPA while he/she is still mentally capable, so as to take care of his/her financial matters when he/she subsequently becomes mentally incapacitated
- Getting started early with Advance Directives
4. Create the right home environment
Minimise household changes
- Avoid moving furniture
- Avoid major refurbishment
Keep your home clean
- Always clean and tidy
- Put things in their fixed locations
- Put labels on everything at home to serve as reminder notes
- If needed, consult professionals such as an occupational therapist to get advice on how to improve the home environment and use appropriate assistive devices
5. Learn communication tricks
- Call your cognitively impaired family member by the name he/she likes and is used to
- Maintain eye contact when talking to the cognitive impaired
- Keep it simple and clear
- Do not criticise or blame
- Ask one question at a time
- Allow sufficient time to answer
- Be patient and stay calm when talking
6. Love yourself
Share the load
- Coordinate with family members to share the responsibilities of care
- Share your feelings and talk about the pressure you are facing with family or friends
- Take a break regularly
- Ask for help from service organisations or family and friends
7. Change your mindset
- Know more about dementia
Love and care
- Let your family member with dementia feel your love and care
- Change your mindset to accept way the dementia work
- Stay positive
- Talk about your difficulties with others
- Be empathetic with your loved one with dementia
Perhaps caregivers need more support than those with dementia
10 Helpful Hints for Carers
This leaflet is a Chinese translated version of “10 Helpful Hints for Carers” published by The Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK and University of Leeds, UK.
Carers can enquire through the hotline about care advice and community support. Services include:
- Latest information about dementia
- Emotional support
- Care advice and arrangements
- Community resources and referrals
Dementia Care Training Courses
Regular dementia care training courses are organised for carers, including counterparts of other organisations, family carers and domestic helpers. The courses aim to give carers a better understanding and skills to care for people with dementia.