Patience Is What You Need While Dealing With A Dementia Patients


Having patience when someone has a debilitating disease like dementia can be extremely difficult.  Oftentimes, people begin to get frustrated, and perhaps even feel guilty that they are frustrated.  The focus of this article is more on increasing your patience than dealing with dementia patients, which is a whole other subject.  Increasing your patience will not just help you with dementia patients, but it will improve your life as a whole. It is never easy have patience all the time, but there are things you can do to help.

To learn how to obtain patience, you first must understand exactly what patience is.  If you are patient, then you don’t need immediate gratification, and you are capable of just sitting back, and waiting for something to happen without experiencing either anxiety of frustration.  If you are patient you have the ability to tolerate others, and be more understanding.  With patience you’ll be able to hang onto a relationship, even when the going gets tough.  Instead of riding on the emotional rollercoaster, you’ll be able to level off the ups and the downs, and wait for what’s coming to you.  You’ll be able to relax in spite of the challenges that you face on a daily basis.

How do all of these qualities relate to those with dementia?  Well, as we know, dementia patients often need to have something repeated several times, and they may struggle with relatively simple activities.  This is no fault of theirs of course, but rather of the disease.  If you’re capable of relaxing, and waiting for them to process the information, it will provide a stronger basis for your relationship with them.  To start with, you won’t feel rushed for them to accomplish their goal, and neither will they.  If you rush the patient, they’ll simply become frustrated, and their self-esteem will drop.  You will become frustrated, and even angry, and the relationship between you and the patient will be heavily strained.

Knowing all of these bad things, how does one go about developing patience?  Is there some simple method?  In short, the answer is no.  Developing patience takes time, but there is a method to do it.  First, remember to take every day one at a time.  When you’re with a dementia patient, take each activity one at a time.  Make sure that two activities don’t rely on each other.  That way, if the first activity doesn’t work out, you’ll still have the second one to go to.  Next, make sure that you’re accepting the reality of the situation you’re in.  When you’re with a dementia patient, you have to learn to accept the limitations that the disease has placed on them.  Don’t give them more than they can handle.  Now is not the time to see how far you can push someone, as you’ll both just end up frustrated.

In developing patience, make sure you’re not worrying about the past or the future.  If the dementia patient did something wrong in the past, you need to learn to let it go.  Also, you can’t worry about how they will act in the future, or if they’ll get to where you want them to be.  Every time you’re with them, let it be a new start for the both of you.

Help the dementia patient to break down the larger goal into smaller ones.  For example, if you were trying to build a house of cars, would you simply say, “it has to be 3 feet high”, and then start to build it just to be that high?  No, of course you wouldn’t.  You would start by putting two cards together, then adding another two, so on and so forth.  Remember to strive to achieve all the little goals, and celebrate each one with the patient.

Sometimes when a person is attempting to help a dementia patient they simply become too controlling.  Don’t be that person.  You have to learn to hand over some control to the patient, and then simply let go.  Let them accomplish whatever it is at their own pace.  The more you rush them, the worse the outcome will be.

Patience with dementia patients may be very difficult to have, but there is a reason why patience is a virtue.  Strive to achieve that virtue, and your life and the patient’s life will be better for it.