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HomeHealthHow To Care For A Parent With Dementia

How To Care For A Parent With Dementia

Consider Having Them Come Home

Caring for a parent with dementia

Accepting an aging parent into your family home requires compassion and patience in your new role. The time you spend together may very well extend your parents life.

Dr. John Cacioppo, a scientist who studied human interactions, told the Guardian newspaper that chronic loneliness increases the odds of an early death by 20 percent. You can beat these odds. Dr. Cacioppo also realized that love and social connections are what really matter in life. With a bit of creativity, patience and time you may find your parents mental confusion easing and their contentment on the rise.

Depression & Anxiety In Dementia Patients

Depression and anxiety associated with dementia can lead your parent to disconnect and disengage in daily activities. In addition, the symptoms of anxiety may cause a dementia patient to refuse care or support. Once your family member becomes disconnected from social interactions, their mental health may start to decline which increases the likelihood of your loved one needing to transition into a care community.

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Know When To Ask For Help

Sometimes, even though every fiber of your being tells you that you should be able to handle the demands of caregiving, you dont have to do it alone. If and when this time arrives, in-home care can be a true blessing for family caregivers. You can also consider respite care, which gives you a little time away for yourself.

In-home care services offer help with the many activities of daily living in the seniors own home, including:

  • Companionship
  • Grocery shopping and/or making meals
  • Transportation
  • Medication reminders

You can relax, knowing that your mother or father will be well cared for while you are away. Respite care services may help you return to your caregiving tasks with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

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Know When Its Time To Bring In Outside Help

Sometimes, even though every fiber of your being tells you that you should be able to handle the demands of caregiving, you dont have to do it alone. If and when this time arrives, in-home care can be a true blessing for family caregivers.

In-home care services offer help with the many activities of daily living in the seniors own home, including:

  • Companionship
  • Grocery shopping and/or making meals
  • Transportation
  • Medication reminders

You can also consider respite care, which gives you a little time away for yourself.

You can relax, knowing that your mother or father will be well cared for while you are away. Respite care services may help you return to your caregiving tasks with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Hc: Any Tips About How To Handle Being Witness To The Challenges Facing Your Parent

How to Care for a Parent with Dementia: A Caregiver

Guimarey: Be patient. Hearing the same story 50 times is very trying. I will say that before we knew the diagnosis we were like, its the same story over and over again. Knowing theres a diagnosis, we all felt this feeling of oh, now that makes sense. Once you know whats going on, it changes your mindset.

Its also hard to separate the parent you had from the parent you have now. For example, my mom was a teacher. She read all the time and she was well-educated and worldly. Now, her vocabulary is so limited. Well ask her, what kind of flowers would you like to plant? and shell say, the pretty kind. Trying to remember the good times really helps. You cant say do you remember this or that as they will say no and you will drive yourself crazy. Know this is the new chapter in their lives and try to be okay with it.

Ballinger: My mom often thought I was her cousin Rosemary and lots of friends and family members thought it was wrong for me to talk to my mom as if I was Rosemary. But I believe it was easier that way. We even had some laughs together and that was better than saying, Mom, Im not Rosemary, or Mom were not in church 40 years ago. That would get us nowhere.

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How To Maintain Quality Of Life For A Loved One With Dementia

As the disease progresses, so will the needs of your loved one. You can care for your loved ones physical needs by closely coordinating care with his or her physician. Just as important is your ability to remain a caregiver for the long-term. Having a strong care team by your side can make this easier.

Give One Instruction At A Time

Granted, this is sometimes easier said than done when life gets busy and youre in a rush!

Still, giving one instruction at a time can make communication much easier.

Multi-tasking is hard enough for adults without cognitive impairments, so you can imagine what it might be like for those living with dementia.

It may take your parent a while to get their words out, so hold back from asking further questions before theyre able to answer.

Repeating the question or rephrasing it slightly differently can help move the conversation along.

Try to give your loved one at least 20-30 seconds to respond.

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How To Care For A Parent With Dementia

Caring for an aging parent can be challenging, especially if they are suffering from conditions that affect their cognition and behavior, such as dementia. There are instances when parents might resist care from their loved one, and it can be frustrating to deal with. Here are some tips for how you can care for your parent with dementia:

Understand The Condition

To adequately care for your parent, you should have the right information about the condition, including what it is, how it progresses, and how you can best deal with it. For instance, dementia can be coupled with Alzheimers disease, a progressive condition that can worsen over time. It will help you if you can identify the different stages and adjust your care accordingly.

Schedule Activities

People suffering from dementia can lose grip of their cognition. They may forget things but establishing a routine can help them cope. However, it doesnt mean that you should be rigidly following the schedule. Be open to spontaneity and flexibility, particularly during difficult moments.

Be Patient

One way of managing your frustration is preparing yourself that each day will be different from the other. There may be times when they will take longer to finish tasks. Similarly, they may also experience frustration so make sure to allow them breaks in between tasks.

Involve Your Parent

Give Simple Instructions

Keep Environment Safe

Fight Caregiver Fatigue

Assess Need For Outside Help

Safe And Happy At Home

Caring For a Parent With Dementia

Of the 5.2 million people in the United States who have Alzheimersdisease and other types ofdementia, 70 percent remain at home, an option thats been shown to keep peoplehealthier and happier and help them live longer. And with the averagenursing home running $50,000 a year or more, home care can be much moreaffordable than rehab facilities, nursing homes andassisted livingresidences.

But cheaper certainly doesnt mean easiercaregivingoften falls on the shoulders of family members and friends. And thosewell-meaning folks can burn out without the proper support, warnexperts.

The care of dementia is actually the care of two people: the person withthe illness and the person taking care of him, says Johns Hopkins expertDeirdre Johnston, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., M.R.C.Psych. But when Johnston and a team of researchers studied more than 250Baltimore residents with dementia as well as their caregivers, they found astaggering 97 percent to 99 percent of both groups had unmet needs.

Keeping your loved one safe and happy at home can seem overwhelming. Butdont lose heart: Plenty of help is out there, for your loved one and you. Here are some tips that may help:

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Tip #: Care For Yourself

Once you become the primary caregiver for your parent with dementia, you may find yourself burned out or exhausted. Self-care is vital for your well-being and ability to provide care for your parent.

Here are some ideas to help create space for yourself:

An excellent short-term care option is respite care. Respite care involves hiring an in-home caregiver to provide a few hours of care each week. Caregivers can provide companionship to your parent and hands-on care like dressing, transportation, or household chores.

Rest and time away from caregiving will look different for everyone. Finding a way to keep yourself healthy and rested will help you better care for your parent.

Understanding Dementia From The Patients Point Of View

Communication difficulties can be frustrating and upsetting. However, it is important to first understand dementia from the patients point of view as well. By placing yourself in their shoes, it helps you empathize and realize how you should react when dealing with dementia parents.

The feeling of helplessness and the inability to express oneself is not only experienced by caregivers, but also felt by those with the disease. Dementia declines ones memory and impairs their ability to reason and judge. Hence, personality mood swings happen regularly and uncontrollably. People with dementia require help for the simplest of tasks such as remembering appointments and traveling around the neighborhood. Many times, they will also engage in aggressive actions or speech when they are placed in confusing and unfamiliar situations.

However, the most crucial thing to note about their unreasonable or aggressive behaviors, is that your loved one is not doing it on purpose. Framing your mindset in a more empathetic way will allow for more patient and effective communication.

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The Warmth Of The Human Touch

Ever noticed how a good massage helps soothe any person, even a baby enjoys it. A gentle touch or a warm hug can result in a calming effect. It creates a bond between the carer and the person with dementia and helps increase trust. A gentle pat on the hand or shoulders or a soft back rub is a great way to help them feel less agitated or anxious. Truly, touch is everything when words fall short.

The Different Stages Parents With Dementia Will Experience

7 Things You Should Know If You Care for a Parent with ...
  • Mid stage
  • Late stage
  • When a loved one has dementia, their decline is usually gradual, and symptoms will slowly worsen over time. But not everyones the same, and some peoples dementia stages and symptoms will progress more quickly or slowly than others.

    Heres a quick look at these three stages of dementia and some of the associated symptoms.

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    Caregivers And Family Members Should Always Provide Reassurances

    According to the Alzheimers Association, its helpful when you try to say calming phrases such as:Youre safe hereIm sorry that you are upsetIm hereI wont leave you

    These words work like a soothing balm that calms down your loved ones and makes them feel safe. Its equally important that you maintain your composure when they get violent or aggressive. Dont get upset, just be positive, remain calm and reassuring. Try to always speak slowly in a soft tone.

    11. Use memorabilia and make them remember the good timesYou can always try reminding them about their old adventures, people and places they liked to visit. You can bring pictures or sing their favorite songs. If they have no memory of past events, or they get upset when you bring them up, change the topic, and talk about something else.

    12. Ensure everyones safety: the patient with dementia, you, or your caregiverMake sure you and the person are safe. If the person is unable to calm down, seek assistance from others. Always call 911 in emergency situations. If you do call 911, make sure to tell responders the person has dementia, which causes them to act aggressively.- Alzheimers Association

    Respite Care For Dementia

    Caring for someone with dementia can lead to serious mental and physical caregiver health risks. Respite care, also called short-term care, offers caregivers a well-deserved break. While your loved one receives respite care, you can spend time with other friends and family, focus on work, vacation, or focus on your own health and well-being.

    Respite care offers help with ADLs and medication management in a safe environment. Many volunteer organizations, support groups, and area resources offer a form of dementia elderly care, which can last anywhere from several days to a month or more. Some senior living communities specializing in memory care also provide dementia-specific respite care. This can be a good way to try out a senior living community before making a permanent move.

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    Recruit A Professional For Help

    Although it may sound contradictory to previous points, sometimes a loved one feels more comfortable talking about their problems with a professional or a third party. But this is not limited to nurses, doctors, or social workers. Perhaps an old friend can be part of the conversation for a parent with dementia that is refusing help. Reach out to the childhood friends of your parent or family member. Your mother or father may feel more comfortable talking to a friend about their symptoms and care.

    Ways To Care For A Parent With Dementia Who Refuses Help

    How to Talk to a Parent With Dementia

    May 25, 2021Comments are Off

    When your parent with dementia refuses help, your first reaction might be frustration. Dont they want help? It may be hard for you to understand, just as its hard for them to understand why they need help. Before you get any more frustrated, we have compiled a list of 10 ways to care for a parent with dementia who refuses care. These tips may provide the exact solution you need.

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    Remain In Contact With Healthcare Providers

    Another way to practically provide quality care to your loved one is to stay in touch with their healthcare providers.

    The memory loss associated with dementia can cause your parents to forget appointments or mix up medications. Staying up to date with your parents scheduled appointments and necessary medications can help them stay on track.

    In addition, your parents could experience a physical injury or start to show signs of mood/behavior changes. Its beneficial to know who to contact for medical advice if issues like these arise.

    The Only Thing Certain

    The unpredictability of dementia is one of its hallmarks. One day, your mom may recognize you and call you by name after weeks or months of calling you something else or looking at you as a stranger. One week, your dad may take a turn for the worst, and you start making plans and preparations. The next, he may bounce back and show you a strength you didnt think possible anymore. Physical strength, ability to handle daily tasks and bodily function can vacillate too. On Tuesday, your mom might be able to dress herself, even if you have to set out the clothes for her in advance. On Wednesday, she may look at the clothes as if she has no idea what they are, who theyre for or what to do with them.

    For you as the family caregiver, riding this roller coaster with your loved one is draining in and of itself. You feel out of control, helpless to know which end is up or whats best for your loved one. You may find yourself with limited patience and compassion no matter how many times you tell yourself, Its the diseases fault, not the persons. And because dementia is so unpredictable, a time frame is rarely in the picture. This decline, or even the up and down of it, can go on for weeks, months, years, decades.

    That thought is often too overwhelming for family caregivers to truly face, and understandably so. But the reality is this: you need help. Acting alone is often not just unrealistic, but dangerous.

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    How To Care For A Parent With Dementia Without Losing Your Sanity

    Are you dealing with a parent with dementia? Some days are harder than others, but you do what you can in order to care for your aging parent.

    If youve had a rough time trying to balance your own life while dealing with a parent that has dementia, youre not alone. In fact, its extremely normal to feel overwhelmed and then to feel guilty that youre overwhelmed.

    If youre looking for some helpful tips that will help you take care of your parent without losing your sanity, youve come to the right place. Here, were sharing how to care for a parent with dementia while maintaining your own life.

    Early Signs Of Dementia

    How to Care for a Parent Struggling with Dementia ...

    The onset of dementia is usually gradual, and the course of the condition can span several years. It is important to be able to recognize the early signs so you can begin to establish your specific plan of care.

    As an occupational therapy assistant, I have spent years working with people diagnosed with dementia, as well as their families, to address the functional implications of the diagnosis and help with the transition.

    Generally, the signs of dementia include:

    • Forgetting recent conversations or events forgetting the names of family and friends forgetting where things are inside the home.
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and time-shifting misidentifying a family member confusing a TV remote with a phone confusing present time with the past getting lost in familiar places.
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Difficulty preparing a well-known recipe tying shoes difficulty performing self-care activities.
  • Problems with communication and language
  • Trouble finding words substituting words repetitive language inappropriate comments inability to comprehend common speech.
  • Personality changes
  • Becoming suspicious and withdrawn losing interest in activities previously enjoyed increased agitation or aggression mood swings with no obvious cause.
  • Although dealing with some of these changes may seem daunting, there are ways to adapt your response to assist your loved one in remaining calm, feeling safe and loved, and finding joy in their lives as they progress.

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