As your loved one progresses through dementia’s early stages, he will require assistance with many of his daily activities, such as eating and bathing. He may feel depressed by this loss of independence, but you can boost his confidence by encouraging him to exercise his abilities as much as possible.
Mid-stage Dementia Care: Bathing
During bath time, try to give your loved one as much privacy as possible by drawing the shower curtain or providing a large towel for coverage after she has undressed. In some instances, bathing may frighten someone with mid-stage dementia. If this is the case, try to be as reassuring as possible and offer her the option to take a shower, bath or a sponge bath—whatever makes her feel most comfortable. If her symptoms of dementia are less at a certain time of day, consider introducing bath time into her schedule at that time.
Mid-stage Dementia Care: Dressing
Lay out two outfits for your loved one each morning. This allows him the option to choose what he wants to wear, without being overwhelmed by a closet full of clothes. If he doesn’t want to wear either outfit, help him find something he would prefer. If he has a favorite outfit, consider buying multiples of the same outfit to reduce your laundry load.
Mid-stage Dementia Care: Eating
Mealtimes are often a difficult time. Your loved one may have very little appetite, be easily distracted or exhibit strange behavior, such as trying to eat non-food items on the table. You may be able to minimize problems by trying some of the following tips:
- Eat meals at the same times everyday to establish a schedule.
- Give her a seat of honor at the table.
- Make mealtimes an enjoyable social time.
- Minimize distractions by turning off the TV or music.
- Prepare her favorite foods.
- Serve food lukewarm, rather than piping hot.
- Try serving one meal item at a time.
- Use non-slip dishes and a cup with a lid to help prevent spills.
Mid-stage Dementia Care: Toileting
As individuals with dementia go from the early stages to mid-stage dementia, they may lose the ability to control their bladder and bowels. You can help minimize accidents by scheduling regular trips to the bathroom and watching for signs that your loved one needs to use the bathroom (such as restlessness or tugging at clothing). When accidents do happen, be gentle and reassuring and try to divert his attention to something else.
Alzheimer’s Association. (2010). Daily Care. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from
Alzheimer’s Society (U.K.). (2011). Everyday care. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200354
Lunde, A. (2009). Strategies for dementia caregiving. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dementia-caregiving/MY00812