7 Tips for Caring for a Loved One with Dementia at Home

29 May 2023 | Dementia Care

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience. It requires patience, understanding, and compassion to provide the best possible care for them. To ensure their safety and well-being, it’s important to create a safe and comfortable environment, establish a routine, encourage physical activity and mental stimulation, ensure proper nutrition, practice patience and understanding, and seek support when needed.

Creating a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a challenging experience, and creating a safe and comfortable environment is crucial to ensuring their safety and well-being. Here are some tips to help you create a safe and comfortable living space for your loved one with dementia:

Remove potential hazards such as loose rugs, clutter, and furniture that may obstruct their path. Ensure that the living space is well-lit, and consider installing grab bars in the bathroom or handrails on stairs to prevent falls.

Simplify the Living Space to help reduce confusion and anxiety. Keep the layout of the room consistent to avoid confusion and disorientation.

Make the Living Space Comfortable to help reduce agitation and improve the quality of life for dementia patients. Ensure that the room is at a comfortable temperature, and provide comfortable seating and bedding. Use soft lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Ensure Easy Navigation to help prevent confusion. Consider using visual cues such as pictures or written notes to help them find their way around the house.

Establishing a Routine

Dementia patients often feel more secure and less anxious when they know what to expect, so a consistent schedule can help reduce confusion and agitation. Here are some tips for establishing a routine:

Create a Daily Schedule so everyone knows what to expect. Use a white board as well as visual cues such as pictures or written notes to remind them of daily tasks and appointments.

Establishing a meal schedule can help ensure your loved one gets proper nutrition. Plan regular meal times and serve meals at the same time each day. Serve foods that are easy to chew and swallow, and consider providing supplements or protein shakes if needed.

A regular evening and morning routine will help to maintain their sleep/wake cycle. And promote better sleep.

Encouraging Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can significantly benefit dementia patients, including improved cognitive function, reduced agitation and aggression, and improved overall well-being. However, it is essential to consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity to ensure that it is safe for them.

Here are some tips for encouraging physical activity in a dementia patient:

  • Start slow and gradually increase activity: Begin with low-intensity exercises such as walking or stretching and progressively increase the intensity and duration of the movement as the patient becomes more comfortable.
  • Make it fun and engaging: Choose activities that the patient enjoys and make them fun and engaging. For example, playing music during exercise or incorporating games into physical activity can make it more enjoyable.
  • Use visual cues: Visual cues such as pictures or written notes can help remind the patient of the activity and make it easier for them to participate.
  • Encourage social interaction: Physical activity can also be an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Encourage the patient to participate in group activities or to exercise with a friend or family member.
  • Be flexible: Dementia patients may have good days and bad days, so it is important to be flexible and adjust the activity level and intensity as needed.

Promoting Mental Stimulation

By promoting mental stimulation, you can help slow the progression of dementia and improve your loved one’s quality of life. Mental stimulation is crucial for dementia patients to maintain cognitive function. There are several ways to do this:

Engage in enjoyable activities such as puzzles, reading, or games. These activities can help stimulate their brain and keep them mentally active. 

Use reminiscence therapy which involves using memories and past experiences to stimulate the brain. You can use old photos, music, or other items to help your loved one remember past events and stimulate their brain.

Provide sensory stimulation to help engage the brain and improve mood. You can provide sensory stimulation by playing music, using scented oils, or providing tactile objects to touch and feel.

Encourage socialization as this can help reduce feelings of isolation and depression. Encourage your loved one to spend time with family and friends, or consider joining a support group for dementia caregivers.

Use technology to promote mental stimulation in dementia patients. For example, there are several apps and programs designed specifically for dementia patients, such as memory games and brain training exercises.

Ensuring Proper Nutrition

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for overall health and well-being. It is especially important for dementia patients who may have difficulty eating or forget to eat altogether. Providing nutrient-dense foods and encouraging regular meals can help ensure that your loved one receives the necessary nutrients to maintain their health.

Easy to Chew and Swallow Foods such as mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, and pureed fruits that can be easier to chew and swallow. Chopped or ground meats and fish can also be easier to eat than larger pieces.

Nutrient-Dense Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats should be included in their diet. Consider rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, which may help improve cognitive function.

Supplements and Protein Shakes if your loved one has difficulty eating or forgets to eat altogether. Consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or protein shakes to ensure that they are safe for them.

Hydration is vital for overall health and well-being, and it is particularly important for dementia patients who may forget to drink water. 

Practising Patience and Understanding

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and requires a great deal of patience and understanding. Dementia patients may experience a range of emotions, including confusion, frustration, and anxiety, which can lead to agitation or aggression. Here are some tips for practising patience and understanding when caring for a loved one with dementia:

  • Remain calm 

When your loved one becomes agitated or confused. Try to speak in a calm, reassuring tone and use positive reinforcement and praise for good behaviour.

  • Validate their feelings

Dementia patients may feel confused or frustrated, and it’s important to validate their feelings and offer reassurance. Try to understand their perspective and offer comfort and support.

  • Be flexible

Dementia patients may have difficulty following a strict routine, and it’s important to be flexible and adapt to their needs. Try to find a balance between structure and flexibility to maintain a sense of normalcy while also accommodating their changing needs.

  • Use distraction 

When your loved one becomes agitated, distraction can be useful. Try engaging them in a favourite activity or redirecting their attention to something else to help calm them down.

  • Take breaks

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be stressful, and it’s essential to take breaks when needed to avoid burnout. Consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver or family member to provide respite care.

Seeking Support

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be an emotionally and physically demanding experience. Therefore, it is essential to seek support from family, friends, or a professional caregiver to avoid burnout and maintain your own mental and physical health.

Family and Friends

Family and friends can provide valuable emotional support for dementia caregivers. In addition, they can offer a listening ear, practical help with daily tasks, and respite care to allow the caregiver to take a break.

It is essential to communicate your needs and limitations to your support network to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You may also need to educate them about dementia to help them understand your loved one’s behaviour and needs.

Professional Caregivers

Professional caregivers can provide expert care and support for dementia patients. In addition, they can assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and medication management and provide respite care to allow the caregiver to take a break.

It is important to research and choose a reputable caregiver agency and ensure they have experience working with dementia patients. Consider the cost of professional care and explore financial assistance options.

Support Groups

Joining a support group for dementia carers can provide an opportunity to connect with others who understand your experience. It can offer emotional support, practical advice, and a safe space to share your feelings and concerns. You can find support groups both online and in-person.


It is crucial to prioritise your mental and physical health when caring for a loved one with dementia. Taking breaks and delegating tasks to others can also prevent burnout and maintain your energy and motivation. Self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies can help reduce stress and improve your wellbeing.

Remember that caring for yourself is not selfish but necessary to provide the best possible care for your loved one.

Eximius can help

It can be extremely challenging caring for a loved one with dementia. Our aim is to help in any way we can. Our professional and dedicated carers can offer individualised support based on your family’s unique needs. If you’d like to know more, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us for an informal chat to learn more.

Further reading

5 Tips To Help People With Dementia Sleep Better

Dementia And Hallucinations – What You Need To Know

What happens in the early stages of dementia?

Making the Tough Call: When Is It No Longer Safe For Dementia Patients To Stay At Home