10 things we do when caring for someone with Mental Challenges

We aren’t born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementia — but we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.


We create a positive mood for interaction.

Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. We create a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use of facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch help to convey your message and display feelings of affection.

Get the person’s attention.

We limit distractions and noise — turn off a radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or we move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, we make sure we have your loved ones’ attention; address them by name, identify our team members by name, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep them focused. If they are seated, we get down to their level and maintain eye contact.

State our message clearly.

We use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, distinctly, and in a reassuring tone. We refrain from raising our voice higher or louder. Instead, we pitch our voice lower. If they do not understand the first time, we use the same wording to repeat our message or question. If they still do not understand, wait a few minutes, and rephrase the question. We use the names of people and places instead of pronouns (he, she, they) or abbreviations.

Ask simple, answerable questions.


Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart.

We patiently wait for your loved one’s reply. If they are struggling for an answer, it’s okay to suggest words. We watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. We always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.

Break down activities into a series of steps.

This makes many tasks much more manageable. We encourage your loved one to do what they can, gently remind them of the steps they tend to forget, and assist with steps they no longer are able to accomplish on their own. Using visual cues, such as showing them with our hands where to place the dinner plate, is very helpful.

When the going gets tough, distract and redirect.

If your loved one becomes upset or agitated, we change the subject or the environment. For example, we ask them for help or suggest going for a walk. It is important to connect with the person on a feeling level, before we redirect. We might say, “I see you’re feeling sad — I’m sorry you’re upset. Let’s go get something to eat.”

Respond with affection and reassurance.

People with dementia often feel confused, anxious, and unsure of themselves. Further, they often get really confused and may recall things that never actually occurred. We avoid trying to convince them they are wrong. We stay focused on the feelings they are demonstrating (which are real) and respond with verbal and physical expressions of comfort, support, and reassurance. Sometimes holding hands, touching, hugging, and praise will get the person to respond when all else fails.

Remember the good old days.

Remembering the past is often a soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not remember what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years earlier. Therefore, we avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, we try asking general questions about the person’s distant past — this information is more likely to be retained.

Maintain your sense of humor.

We use humor whenever possible, though not at the person’s expense. People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are usually delighted to laugh along with you.

10 Things we do for seniors with physical disabilities


We promote a sense of purpose.

Seniors with a sense of purpose or hobbies that interest them are less likely to succumb to the negative effects of social isolation. Besides providing a sense of purpose, many hobbies and interests are inherently social in nature. Group involvement, such as playing bridge, could be said to be socially healthy. If a senior is bereft of ideas for what to do, we always plan events that promote a sense of purpose.

Make Transportation Available.

We provide transportation or other senior transportation services so our clients have access to programs and resources which help support their feelings of connectedness and independence. Because many seniors do not drive, this issue creates a big negative issue for them. So, we provide our clients options for getting around and help them make independent choices about travel that promotes their social health.

A pet is a great idea.

Caring about someone or something else can give you a sense of purpose in live, not to mention a fuzzy feeling. Pet therapy is medicinal: it can lower anxiety and blood pressure, boost memory, and contribute to mood and a sense of wellbeing. Caring for pets is also fun and rewarding for our clients who need companionship.

We get them involved in the community.

Staying involved in the community helps give our clients a sense of purpose, from helping gift wrap at department stores during the holidays to handing out brochures and information at local theaters.  Many seniors thrive by close involvement with their community and meeting new people (not to mention, interacting with people of all ages). Attending a local music celebration or festival also breaks up the day and adds a little excitement.

We encourage exercise.

Let’s face it exercise and moving our bodies releases endorphins, reduces stress and just makes us feel good. Exercise is important for seniors to help get their blood moving in addition to increasing their flexibility and strength — and helps give our clients a positive body image that promotes interaction with others.

We keep up doctor visits.

Part of staying healthy and social is preventive health and being aware of any health problems that may arise. We support routine doctor visits which goes a long way to addressing health problems that can cause our clients to withdraw and become isolated. For example, seniors with undiagnosed or untreated hearing problems may avoid social situations because of difficulty communicating or feelings of embarrassment. In fact, a hearing aid may be the only barrier to better social health.

We address incontinence Issues.

Incontinence issues are embarrassing. So, for obvious reasons, a senior who experiences incontinence may be hesitant to leave their home and could become isolated. We make sure that incontinence issues are appropriately addressed.  For example, through the use of  medications and incontinence supplies, our clients have a better opportunity to recognize their social potentials and live life without embarrassment and fear of going into public.

We keep them actively engaged in their interests.

Hobbies are a great way to keep our clients interested while stimulating their mind, but are also great for social interaction. For example, art can be done as a social activity with friends or family, so that mingling happens while stimulating their mind and souls. From painting, sculpting, and scrapbooking to photographing, knitting, or sewing art is one of the best activities seniors can practice.

We encourage dining with others.

The act of eating with others is inherently social and mealtimes are events when the whole family or community comes together. Dining offers an occasion for catching up and rejoicing with others. Everyone needs to eat, which is why dining has been one of the most enjoyable and significant occasions for people across different cultures and throughout history.

We make family and friend interaction a priority.

Visiting family and friends is one of the most important past-times for our clients as these catch-ups help combat senior isolation which is one of the leading causes of physical decline. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with increased risk for depression, blood pressure, mental decline and more. After all, humans are wired to interact and socialize, and they especially need these interactions as they age and sometimes lose spouses and social circles.

About Our Team Members

You’re First LLC was founded as the result of one of our own family members’ need for care and companionship. Our ability to provide our loved one the highest quality care allowed them to remain in the comfort of their own home which made all the difference in their life. Our approach was so unique we began receiving requests from friends and other relatives to help them.

At You’re First we treat our clients like our own family. We care for the entire person, mind and body. We take “Quality of Life” seriously. We don’t stop at meeting the basic needs of our clients, we truly believe in improving the quality of our client’s lives. Our unique CARE PROGRAMS allow us to concentrate on each person individually focusing on the qualities of life that we can best serve. We offer services unlike any other in this industry.

Our clients are not just a job to us. It would be a privilege for us to come into your home and provide the quality care and companionship you or your loved one deserves. Our staff is committed to you… You’re First when it matters most!

Texas Home Health Care License No. 014101