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How to Care for a Parent with Dementia?

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A young and loving woman kissing her happy senior mother on her cheeks.

As a caregiver, it’s important to remember that patience and dedication are essential ingredients in helping make life easier for both you and your family member who is living with dementia. 

Ways to care for a parent with dementia include:

1. Know the Signs and Symptoms of Dementia 

2. Understand Your Parent’s Emotional State 

3. Provide Structure and Familiarity 

4. Make Sure They Have Access to Proper Health Care 

5. Create a Safe Environment for Them 

6. Establish a Support System for Yourself 

7. Find Ways to Maximize Quality of Life During This Time

We will help guide you through the process of caring for a parent who has been diagnosed with dementia so that you can provide them with safe, comfortable care while also preserving their dignity during this journey.

Know the Signs & Symptoms of Dementia 

Dementia can be a scary and overwhelming diagnosis, but knowing the signs and symptoms can help you or your loved ones seek treatment and support earlier. 

One of the most common indicators is memory loss, especially for recent events or conversations. Confusion and disorientation in familiar places or routines may also be warning signs. 

Changes in language abilities, such as difficulty finding the right words or following a conversation, can also be a sign of dementia. Personality changes, difficulty with problem-solving, and poor judgment can also be present in those with dementia.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to speak with a healthcare professional.

Understand Your Parent’s Emotional State

A young and loving woman kissing her happy senior mother on her cheeks.

As we grow up, we seek our parents’ guidance and support at every step of our lives. However, as they age, they may experience dementia, which can affect their emotional state of mind. Working to understand their thoughts and emotions can help us communicate with them better and give us a better understanding of their needs. 

Empathy, patience, and persistence are vital tools in dealing with family members suffering from dementia. Identifying their likes and dislikes and maintaining a structured routine can help reduce anxiety while boosting their self-esteem. 

Remember, every person with dementia is different, and therefore, our caregiving approach should be unique, too. By actively listening and validating their feelings, we can help them lead a fulfilled life despite the challenges of dementia.

Provide Structure & Familiarity 

As we age, change becomes increasingly difficult to process and adjust to. For seniors with dementia, this struggle can be amplified, leaving them feeling lost and disoriented. Providing structure and familiarity can be highly beneficial for these individuals, as it can help ground them and offer a sense of comfort. 

This structure can take many forms, such as keeping a consistent routine, providing familiar surroundings, and engaging in activities that they have enjoyed in the past. By creating a stable environment, seniors with dementia can feel more calm and secure, allowing them to thrive in the face of cognitive decline.

Make Sure They Have Access to Proper Health Care 

Our health care needs change as we age, and unfortunately, for seniors experiencing dementia, receiving proper care can become a challenging task. Without access to appropriate medical attention and treatment, these individuals may be at risk of developing additional health complications, which can significantly affect their quality of life

Although, in some cases, finding the proper care may require a bit more effort, it’s essential to make sure that seniors with dementia receive the necessary medical attention they need. 

By working with healthcare professionals and advocating for the unique needs of seniors with dementia, we can help these individuals receive the best care possible and live their lives with dignity and comfort.

Create a Safe Environment for Them

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a challenging experience. It’s essential to create a safe environment for them to feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as:

  • Removing potential hazards
  • Keeping sharp objects stored away
  • Reduce slippery floors by adding mats
  • Install locks on cabinets containing medication
  • Lock up cleaning supplies and chemicals
  • Add grab bars in the bathroom to prevent falls
  • Provide a routine for the person with dementia
  • Keep in mind that abrupt changes in their environment can be unsettling

Overall, creating a safe and familiar environment can improve the quality of life for those with dementia and provide peace of mind for their caregivers.

Establish a Support System for Yourself 

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be incredibly challenging, both emotionally and physically. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Establishing a solid support system can make a world of difference. 

Consider joining a support group for caregivers, either in-person or online, to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. It may also be helpful to seek out resources such as respite care or home health aides to give yourself a break when needed.

Remember to lean on friends and family for emotional support as well. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved one.

Find Ways to Maximize Quality of Life During This Time

When caring for a loved one with dementia, it is important to find ways to maximize their quality of life. One strategy is to prioritize activities that bring pleasure and enrich their sense of purpose, such as listening to music, looking at photo albums, or tending to indoor plants. 

It is also crucial to maintain a consistent daily routine and minimize potential sources of stress. Family members and caregivers may need to adjust their expectations and communication style to accommodate changes in the person’s abilities and behaviors. 

Additionally, accessing support groups and resources can provide valuable information and emotional support. By focusing on meaningful engagement and holistic self-care, caregivers can help improve their loved one’s well-being and enjoyment of life.

We’re Here to Help

Dementia is a severe disease that requires specialized care and support for those affected. However, understanding how to care for someone you love with dementia involves more than just managing their daily needs. It’s essential to understand the medical, social, and emotional support they require and make sure they have the best possible quality of life. If you or someone you know is looking for additional support, visit us at Fox Trail Memory Care, discover the options we can provide, and schedule a tour today.

Ryan Donahue

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

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