Are you becoming isolated because the person you are caring for is reluctant to leave the house?
There are hundreds of people like you facing this every day. You are not alone – but how do you break this routine? The honest truth is it takes a huge amount of energy and patience.
Here are a few top tips, but of course everyone and every situation is different as is the level of dementia you are supporting.
If you are generally facing resistance leaving the house it could be because you have told them where you are going. Imparting this information, you could have unintentionally caused confusion and anxiety as they don’t understand where you are going, even if you have been to the destination many times before. This might be something they can no longer recall and they are panicked by this. The easiest thing to say in this situation is “I’m not going”.
How to leave the house with minimal stress
Don’t say ahead of time where, when and why you are going out
Be completely ready when you need to leave the house so you can concentrate on your loved one who needs you (leaving a person waiting while you run and get something will cause additional and unnecessary anxiety)
If asked don’t offer lots of detail about where you might be going, simply say “I thought it would be nice to go out”
Do not hurry your loved one, allow enough time to reassure and support them whether that is with eye contact, touch or the practicality of helping them with their shoes
Keep your temper, do not become frustrated and raise your voice if timings or behaviours aren’t going the way you want
If you lose your temper you have lost– they will be frightened. Your loved one won’t understand what they have done wrong and close down
If they say they don’t want to go out, distract them – talk about other things, move rooms with them and then return to your goal of leaving the house in time
Be bright and positive even if you don’t feel it
Be the lead at ALL times. Do not be led. Your loved one is relying on you – they don’t know the answers – so closing down their communication will be their easy option.
The reluctance to leave the house is very common, they might not remember what is outside and they are frightened and anxious.
How do you break the cycle?
Change around your week, if you can’t get out get people to come to you. Don’t become isolated from your friends and community even if your loved one puts up resistance to a visitor. YOU need the company and the change of perspective. YOU need friendship and care too to be able to offer it.
Texting is often easier than chatting on the phone to make arrangements so get text savvy and share your need for support!
We are here to help you, so if you have tried some of our tips and you’re still struggling, call us – or text 07834 225 644.