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HomeCareHow To Care For Elderly Parent With Dementia

How To Care For Elderly Parent With Dementia

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Caring for a parent with dementia

Even after breaking down the steps, caring for your parent can be an overwhelming responsibility.

Fortunately, there are many aging care options and helpful resources you can rely on.

  • Geriatric care managers they can act as consultants to guide you or they can manage all aspects of caring for your parent. Their experience could save you time, money, and headaches down the road.
  • In-home caregiving help whether you hire privately or go through a home care agency, hired caregivers take care of seniors in their home.
  • Assisted living communities if your parent isnt able to live on their own or needs 24/7 care, assisted living and other senior housing options might be the right choice.
  • Geriatricians they specialize in caring for seniors and have more experience treating people with multiple chronic health conditions, dementia, and other conditions that primarily affect older adults
  • Area Agency on Aging this is the county-level government office that serves local seniors. Its a great starting point because they connect you with helpful local resources and government programs.

Commonalities In Patients With Dementia

As mentioned previously, every case of dementia is different. The experiences you face as a home caregiver may be largely identical or completely unrelated to what someone else does. However, there are a few commonalities that your parent may experience as their condition progresses. Knowing how to handle these factors will be important for both your parents well-being and your own:

Tip #: Make Home Adjustments

Whether your parent is staying in their home or is living with you, youll want to make some safety adjustments to living spaces.

Fall Prevention

Falls can become more common for aging parents regardless of their mental condition. Some things to consider for fall prevention are:

  • Replacing worn carpet or rugs
  • Cleaning clutter
  • Making sure stairs are in good condition and covered in no-slip strips
  • Securing or installing railways
  • Keeping bathrooms dry, installing no-slip strips, and investing in a shower chair

Multiple Items in the House

Aging seniors with dementia will misplace objects or forget where things are. It can be handy to keep duplicates of common household items around the house. Keeping multiples of items in the home can help reduce frustration for all parties involved.

Design and Lighting

Good lighting and contrasting colors are good elements to include for a dementia-friendly house.

Lighting adjustments include:

  • Using natural light as much as possible.
  • Using table lamps or wall-mounted lights instead of large overhead lights.
  • Establishing two times the normal level of lighting.

Contrasting can also help your parent with dementia see things more clearly. An example of contrast is a white plate against a dark table cover. This contrast allows them to see the plate and food more clearly.

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Be Realistic About How Much Care You Can Provide Without Harming Your Own Health

Now that you know what your older adults care needs are, you can figure out if thats something you can handle without help.

Or maybe looking over the list helps you realize that you definitely need help with a variety of tasks.

In your evaluation, think carefully about how much care you can realistically provide without harming your own health.

Keep in mind that if you take on too much, you will eventually burn out or develop a serious health condition ultimately leaving you unable to care for anyone.

Instead, be as proactive as you can and find ways to get the help you need to keep up your health and keep going as a caregiver.

Counseling From A Mental Health Or Social Work Professional

Pin on Mother

Mental health or social work professionals help you understand your feelings, such as anger, sadness, or feeling out of control and overwhelmed, and help you deal with any stress you may be feeling. They also help develop plans for unexpected or sudden events.

What to know about costs:

  • Professional mental health counselors charge by the hour. There may be big differences in the rates you would be charged from one counselor to another.
  • Some insurance companies will cover some of these costs.
  • Medicare or Medicaid may cover some of these costs.
  • You must pay all costs not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance.

How to find them:

  • It’s a good idea to ask your health insurance staff which counselors and services, if any, your insurance plan covers. Then check with your doctor, local family service agencies, and community mental health agencies for referrals to counselors.

Recommended Reading: Is It Dementia Or Old Age

Tips For Changes In Communication And Behavior For People With Dementia

Communication can be hard for people with Alzheimers and related dementias because they have trouble remembering things. They also can become agitated and anxious, even angry. In some forms of dementia, language abilities are affected such that people have trouble finding the right words or have difficulty speaking. You may feel frustrated or impatient, but it is important to understand that the disease is causing the change in communication skills. To help make communication easier, you can:

  • Reassure the person. Speak calmly. Listen to his or her concerns and frustrations. Try to show that you understand if the person is angry or fearful.
  • Allow the person to keep as much control in his or her life as possible.
  • Respect the persons personal space.
  • Build quiet times into the day, along with activities.
  • Keep well-loved objects and photographs around the house to help the person feel more secure.
  • Remind the person who you are if he or she doesnt remember, but try not to say, Dont you remember?
  • Encourage a two-way conversation for as long as possible.
  • Try distracting the person with an activity, such as a familiar book or photo album, if you are having trouble communicating with words.

Look Out For Paranoia

Paranoid thoughts often feature strongly in dementia patients, so be prepared for loved ones to express concerns of this nature. Along with agitation, paranoia can be symptomatic of underlying issues, so encourage your loved one to voice their worries, to see if you can put their mind at rest.

Agitation and paranoia require a gentle, soothing approach, so dont be persuaded to raise your voice or get frustrated. Play calming music, keep noise to a minimum and speak in soft tones.

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Tips For Dealing With Parents With Dementia

When a person has a parent with dementia, they may find themselves taking on the role of a caregiver. Caring for a parent with dementia may be a comforting experience, but it may also bring challenges.

As their parents condition changes, so will a persons relationship and involvement. This changing relationship and new responsibilities can be an emotionally trying experience. Some people may find relief in having an explanation for their parents symptoms while also feeling grief, anger, or helplessness.

However, there are ways in which a person can seek help and adapt their behavior to support themselves and their parent.

Do The Staff Have The Right Mix Of Skills To Make Sure Your Loved One Is Kept Safe

How to Talk to a Parent With Dementia

When speaking with a care agency, its important to know that their staff can provide your loved one with the right care, based on their knowledge, qualifications and skills. Care teams typically include a home health aide, registered home healthcare nurse, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist or a social worker.

The bond between client and care provider is built on a foundation of compassion and trust, so look for an agency that will pair Mom with the home care specialist with whom she feels most comfortable. Once these pairings are established, clients tend to build strong, close relationships with their care providers.

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Create A Safe Environment

Home safety is a top priority when it comes to caring for parents with dementia. Whether your parent lives in their home or has moved in with you, its essential to create a safe environment.

And as dementia progresses, its crucial to monitor your parents situation and make additional safety changes as needed.

What To Do When Siblings Won’t Help With Elderly Parents

And if siblings refuse to help, seek help from community resources, friends, or hire professional help. Some siblings in the family may refuse to help care for your parents or may stop helping at some point. If they aren’t willing to work on resolving the issues, the best approach may be for you to just let it go.

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What Are Signs Of A Toxic Mother

Here are nine signs of a toxic mother:

  • She Overreacts to Differences of Opinion. …
  • She Makes Excessive Demands of You. …
  • She Uses Manipulation to Get What She Wants. …
  • She Fails to Respect Your Boundaries. …
  • She Puts Down Your Accomplishments. …
  • She Hurts You With Her Words or Actions. …
  • She Refuses to Apologize. …
  • She Tries to Control You.

Responding To Unexpected Events

Dementia &  Difficult Behaviors: Help for the Caregiver of Aging Parents ...

When you think about responding to newsgood or badthe way you feel about a parents diagnosis might arise from the foundation of how your parents managed through challenges throughout their lifetime. Dealing with dementia in a parent can mean looking at the past.

Were your parents practical and realistic? Did they search for and want information so that they could be prepared, or did they respond to situations as they blew up or grew to be out of control?

Were they direct and practical in their response to life events? Or were your parents the opposite? Instead of being planners, maybe they were procrastinators or dreamers who blamed others when things didnt work out as planned.

If so, you may have heard things like, well deal with it when it happens, or we dont talk about such things because if we dothe event is certain to happen. Learning how to deal with dementia in a parent is even more challenging when a diagnosis comes late and memory loss has advanced.

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Tips To Extend Home Care For Dementia Patients

With the right tools, family caregivers can help care for a parent with dementia at home longer. Seniors diagnosed with dementia often face a long path of cognitive decline, but caregivers can help by providing memory aids and opportunities for success along the way.

Memory tools. Memory aids can help people become more organized and manage the symptoms of memory loss. The American Psychological Association offers several recommendations:

  • Using a calendar, journal, or to-do list as a memory substitute for daily tasks
  • Setting alarms or automatic reminders for medication and meals
  • Establishing routines of pleasant, meaningful daily activities

Success and accomplishments. Continued learning and achievement can reduce agitation over memory loss and slow the process of cognitive decline, the APA says. By emphasizing remaining strengths, caregivers can help seniors with mild to moderate dementia succeed. Try to facilitate success when caring for a parent with dementia at home by ensuring a level of autonomy.

Behaviors Are A Normal Part Of Dementia

It is essential to recognize that much of the resistance and the behaviors that family caregivers experience result from memory lossan inability to recall information or follow a conversation. So rather than giving lengthy explanations that may make you feel better as a caregiver, consider that a parent cannot remember the beginning of something you said by the time you get to the end.

Increasing forgetfulness represents the progression of memory loss progresses. So, keep conversations simple, and offer options.

For example, mom or dad, do you want A or B? Make sure your siblings or others who visit are familiar with the best ways to interact with parents with dementia.

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Tip #: Prepare And Research

The first thing youll want to do is prepare yourself and do some research.

Take time to read articles, books, or talk with others around you who might be caring for a parent with dementia. You might also be able to find online videos or classes to help with the preparation.

Youll also want to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. Write out some memories of your loved one. Take some time to think about who they were and some of the things that they enjoyed. These can help you remember who your loved one is if their personality starts to change.

If possible, plan and prepare ahead of time. Many preliminary resources exist to help you start the journey of caring for your loved one with dementia well.

Top 5 Tips For Caring For A Parent With Dementia

Dementia and Aging Parents: Refusing Medical Care and Home Care

1. It is important to accept your role. You may not see yourself as a caregiver if you are only helping your parent with laundry or garbage collection once a week, for instance! But if your visits are necessary, rather than social, you are a caregiver. By accepting your role you can begin to take further steps to make things easier for both your parent and yourself.2. Your parents faculties will continue to decline over time, possibly over the years. Educate yourself about the specific form of dementia and learn about how it can progress. Every case is different, but there are enough commonalities that you will be able to prepare yourself, and possibly even prepare your loved one, ahead of time.3. Caring for a parent with dementia at home will affect your job and finances. If not now, then it will down the line when your parents condition advances. Try to arrange flexible conditions from your workplace so that you will be able to better manage your time and priorities. Unfortunately, in advanced dementia cases, providing home care can be a full-time job in itself. Prepare for the possibility of having to leave your job and assess what your options are.

4. Consider natural treatments for your parents dementia. While they will not halt the progression, there is evidence that things such as music, pet therapy, vitamin E or gingko can improve the mood and slow the deterioration of those with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

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How To Convince A Parent To Go To Assisted Living

  • Talk with siblings/family first. Discuss options ahead of time and make sure youre on the same page. This will help minimize tension and disagreements.
  • Dont push. Avoid making parents feel forced. This conversation may need to happen several times over the course of weeks, months, and sometimes even years.
  • Empathize and listen. Many seniors protest assisted living out of Show your loved one that you really care about why they are resisting. Hearing them with compassion builds trust.
  • Reframe the benefits. Many seniors see assisted living as giving up, but good facilities offer vibrant social communities, independence, peace of mind, and more time to enjoy life. Remind your loved one of these benefits and how they could improve their quality of life.
  • Seize teachable moments. Is housework overwhelming? Are they lonely? Pain points can be conversation starters for how assisted living can help parents live more fully.
  • Give them control. No parent wants to be told what to do. Instead, ask how they would recommend solving the problem. Ask about their priorities and give them choices. One family even made a flip chart to help visualize what their parents cared about most.
  • Bring in help. Sometimes a third party can neutralize a charged situation. Consider having a trusted physician, spiritual guide, or counselor talk with your loved one.
  • Prioritize trust and love. Preserving your relationship with your parents is the most important thing.
  • What Is The General Look And Feel Of The Agency

    Its always great to have a recommendation from someone you know, but it can also be helpful to check a care agencys ratings online. The one thing you do know is that you want only the very best, so its important to consider the general ethos of the providers that you shortlist.

    At Interim HealthCare of Richmond, it is our comprehensive approach to home care that makes us unique. Designed to encompass care for the whole individual mind, body and spirit, in addition to care for the family, we seek to help people look forward to rather than dread support from others.

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    Check Elder Care And Dementia Care Services In Your Community

    There may be times when caregivers are not able to care for their loved one. If additional help is needed during the day, adult day care centers provide entertainment and care for people with dementia while giving much-needed breaks for their caregivers.

    Home services are also available to give you more time in your day. Certified nursing assistants can visit your home to help with medical needs, such as administering medications or caring for wounds. If you need more help, in-home health aides can cover light housekeeping, cooking and other nonmedical needs. Some grocery stores and meal services can also assist by delivering food or meals to your home. Try exploring the options that are available to you.

    Its important to ask your loved ones doctor or dementia care coordinator for local resources and contacts.

    Caregivers And Family Members Should Always Provide Reassurances

    Simple Ways to Comfort Seniors with Dementia

    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

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