People with dementia often lose the ability to take care of themselves and their environments, so hiring a maid service is a good way to maintain a clean and orderly home. However, introducing a new person to your loved one and changing his or her routine can cause increased anxiety and agitation. Here are a few tips for minimizing the upset that may occur after hiring a maid service.
Hire the Right Person
Dementia causes a variety of adverse psychological and physiological symptoms in affected persons that can be tough for friends and family members to handle, let alone complete strangers. While this isn't always possible, try to hire someone who has experience working with or around people with neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. This experience will make the person more sensitive to and understanding of your loved one's needs, which can minimize the risk of negative interactions that may make the dementia patient and the maid too uncomfortable to be around each other.
Make the Cleaning Part of the Routine
Maintaining a routine is critical for keeping a person with dementia calm because it allows the individual to know what to expect during the day, which can be a great source of comfort in someone whose memory is failing. Therefore, turning the cleaning into a routine itself may make it easier to integrate into the bigger picture of your loved one's life.
Have the maid arrive on the same days and at the same times, and try to have the same person (or the same pool of people) do the cleaning. Instruct the maid to tidy the home in the same sequence (e.g. bedrooms, kitchen, and then bathroom) and to put items back in the same place after cleaning them. For instance, placing pictures back in the same spot after dusting them. This can minimize confusion and maintain safety by ensuring the dementia patient's environment remains the same.
Always Have Someone Familiar Around
It may take several months before your loved one adapts to the new routine and recognizes and becomes comfortable around the cleaning professional. It's best to have someone familiar to your loved one in the home when the maid is there to help alleviate any anxiety the person may have about being around a stranger. It may also help ease your loved one's discomfort to have the maid make a point of introducing his or herself at each visit until the person recognizes the cleaning professional.
Having a third person around is also a good form of protection for your loved one and the maid. If the dementia patient become overly agitated, violent, or suffers a medical emergency, having someone on site to handle the issue can stop a bad situation from getting worse.
Give Your Loved One Something to Do
One way to reduce anxiety about a change in routine is to distract your loved one by giving him or her something to do while the person is there. For instance, you could have the person focus on putting a puzzle together if he or she enjoys that type of activity. Sometimes people who were homemakers may want to help clean the home because it was a part of their routines for so long. Giving the person a minor chore such as folding laundry can help soothe his or her anxiety and make the individual feel accomplished.
While changing the routine by adding a maid service can be upsetting to a person with dementia at first, over time that anxiety should dissipate as long as the new routine is consistently maintained. To start the process of having a professional help you keep you or your loved one's home neat and tidy, connect with a maid service company in your area.
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