Maintaining Dignity Throughout the Progression of Alzheimer's
Last updated: February 2023
Have you ever thought about giving your loved one dignity in their care? As they progress in the stages of Alzheimer's, how often do you apply respect and honor?
This type of care is often overlooked but is just as important as the other parts of caregiving. In providing your loved ones with a sense of self-respect and worth, you are ensuring their emotional wellbeing and dignity.
What is dignity and why is it so important?
Dignity is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, "the quality of being worthy of respect and honor."
When speaking specifically in terms of Alzheimer's, it can be seen as an inner sense of self-respect or worth. It's something that every individual deserves to feel regardless of their struggles.
The reason that this aspect of caregiving is so crucial - it directly affects the person's mental and emotional state. Without a sense of dignity, people can easily feel depressed which can lead them to exhibit uncooperative and challenging behaviors.
Dignity in caregiving for those with Alzheimer's
There are many ways that you can ensure your loved one maintains their dignity while you provide them with the care they need. One of the most important things you can do is to talk with them as you would normally, using normal tone and volume.
Even if your loved one is no longer able to communicate verbally, they will still understand what you're saying and it will help to keep them feeling connected to the world around them.
Dignity by keeping their environment
Another way to maintain your loved one's dignity is by keeping their environment as familiar as possible. This may mean using the same plates and cups they've always used or keeping their bedroom decorated the same way.
Sometimes even playing the same music they enjoy helps to maintain their dignity. When possible, it's also helpful for your loved one to continue with their normal routines. This can include things like getting dressed and brushing their teeth each day.
Dignity by maintaining privacy
Respecting your loved one's privacy is another important way to maintain their dignity.
This may mean knocking before entering their room, or waiting until they're finished using the bathroom before you enter. If your loved one is no longer able to bathe or groom themselves, dignity can still be maintained. It is important to make sure that when assisting in bathing do so in a way that respects their modesty.
Dignity by showing love and respect
Many caregivers wonder what is one of the most important parts of giving your loved one dignity. My answer is always to treat them with utmost respect and love at all times.
Your attitude towards a loved one affects how you care for them. It is vital that you show your loved one kindness and compassion throughout this difficult time.
Respect and love in caring for those with Alzheimer's
Maintaining your loved one's dignity is an important part of caregiving for those with Alzheimer'. There are many ways to do this; some include talking with them normally, keeping their environment familiar, respecting their privacy, and treating them with respect and love.
By following these tips, you can help a loved one feel valued and comfortable throughout their journey with Alzheimer's. Would you like to talk to others in the Alzheimer's community about maintaining dignity through the progression of the disease? Reach out in our forums.
Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with Mild cognitive impairment?