It’s not easy for an older person to ask for help to use the bathroom. And for those that have memory loss or dementia, it’s important to help preserve your loved ones dignity as much as possible.
Here are some tips to help maintain dignity:
Tone of Voice
When in a position of caring for another, it’s common to revert to a parental role – sometimes without even realizing it. This can come across as condescending, disrespectful, or make the person you are caring for feel like a child. Listen to your tone when you speak. Speak to your loved one as an adult, even if you’re not sure how much he understands
What about the words you are using? There are a few taboo words that are undignified. Think about the words that you use that may not represent dignity; words that indicate a baby-state, like diaper, bib, potty. etc. Try to find alternate words that the person used as part of their life before dementia.
Here are some examples:
- Diaper: underwear, special underwear, padded underwear, adult pads, pad, or protective underwear.
- Bib: apron – take this a step further and actually use an apron instead of a bib to protect clothing. You can allow the person to help with meal preparation in ways that they can manage, such as setting the table, stirring a mix, or tossing a salad – something that helps them feel useful.
- Potty: the best approach here is to use the language that they used prior to dementia. Did they say any of these phrases when they needed to use the restroom – I need to use the restroom, I have to pee, I need to tinkle, I’ll be in the powder room? Using the words they are used to using is not only more dignified, it is less confusing.
Respect His Privacy, Physically And Emotionally.
- Close the door when you help him dress or use the bathroom.
- Knock before opening a closed door.
- Don’t discuss confidential information with other people, even family members, without his permission.