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7 Top Tips for Home Health Care Involving Dementia

Dee Bustos

Alzheimer's Care

Apr 03, 2024

5 min read

What are we doing?” I heard my thoughts ask on a midnight drive down Highway 101, as we rushed to the home of our first client for whom we were providing round-the-clock elderly home care. 

My answer to the question was as automatic as my exhaustion was extreme. 

It’s the compassionate thing to do,” I reassured myself on that unusually warm Bay Area evening 13 years ago. It was compassion that we had not only for the client with Alzheimer’s disease but also for the caregiver who could not, on her own, lift the client who had slid down to the floor, to help her back into her bed. 

Compassion to create a better world for seniors and caregivers, after all, has been at the center of our home-care assistance business from the moment Vanessa Valerio and I had founded Care Indeed in 2010. Which explains why I was busy driving my entire 3-person company to the client’s home, to fix the situation—which fortunately, we did.

Memories of this client emergency came back to me a few weeks ago, at our most recent Health Talk Matters seminar here at Care Indeed. Dementia-care expert Tami Anastasia was on hand to share best practices for caring for those with any kind of dementia. And by the time her talk was done and we were all enjoying lunch together, it was clear to me that we need to be ready to deliver an extra dose of compassion whenever caring for those afflicted with dementia.

And because more and more of us are providing elderly care at home to relatives and friends with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, I thought you might like to know our Seven Top Tips for providing compassionate care, largely influenced by Tami’s insightful advice at our seminar:

  • Keep them active, as appropriate, with physical or mental exercise. This can mean helping them walk around the house, or sitting down with them to paint pictures with watercolors
  • Encourage the familiar, such as putting on their favorite music or taking them outside to admire the nature they love
  • Use visual cues to jog their memories so that, if you’re explaining that their granddaughter just graduated from college with honors, you show them a photo of the granddaughter while you speak
  • Reassure them with positive reinforcement about things they’ve said, done or remembered
  • Watch for triggers that upset them so you can avoid provoking unnecessary anger, fear or sadness
  • Recall the good times of their—or even your—earlier years with help from home movies, videos on your phone or photos, whether they are in photo albums, on your phone or hanging on the wall
  • Keep calm and positive, knowing that your good mood can make it easier for them to feel happy and tranquil as well

Underlying all of these at-home-care tips, of course, is our ongoing attempt to sense their emotions and thoughts about what’s happening as we look for ways to help them with whatever they’re going through—a habit otherwise known as compassion.

As I look back to that night in 2011, I see that so much has changed about the senior home care we provide today: we have multiple Bay Area offices now, as well as hundreds of employees and even a virtual-reality system for training our caregivers in the nuances of working with those who have dementia. 

While that’s all new, some things remain solidly in place. Our reliance on compassion as a work skill, for instance, is still exactly where it’s been from day one: at the heart of our home-care services.

Dee Bustos


Dee Bustos

Chief Executive Officer

Visionary. Optimist. Tech-savvy and results-oriented. Loves to sing during her almost non-existent spare time. Her motto: Dream BIG

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