Individuals in the beginning stages of dementia are still able to complete their own self-care for example brushing their teeth, combing hair and shave.
As the dementia progresses the person may start to forget one or more steps of self-care activities. It is important to maintain as much independence as possible with daily self-care to prevent the person losing the skills. Some ideas to help the person with dementia to continue self-care activities:
- Encourage physical activity to maintain flexibility and strength
- Focus on abilities: even during the later stages of Dementia, there are still some activities which the person can continue doing on their own.
- Take away all unnecessary items.
- Plan what needs to be done and how to fit the activity to the ability of the person
- Prepare for the activity by placing items together for example the toothbrush and tooth paste in a holder and the comb and hair products in another container.
- The activity should then be split into specific tasks the person understands. In simple and easy to understand steps, explain to the person what needs to be done.
- Post a simple list of steps to follow for example: put your toothbrush in the right hand, now put toothpaste on the brush, wet the brush under the tap, brush your teeth, rinse your mouth.
- Get one task done, before doing the next.
- Keep assisting the person and use prompts to orient them to the task
- Never hurry the person, be patient
- Never argue or insist that the person do a task.
At times the person will not be able to do the task, although you tried prompting and instruction. When this is the case resume the task later.
To find out more about identifying individuals in the beginning stages of dementia, please get in touch.