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How To Deal With A Parent Who Has Dementia

Find The Why In A Dispute

Dealing with an aging parent with memory loss or dementia

It can help to think about reasons your parent may be arguing with you, Zarit says. One thing is their own anger and fear over needing help. No one likes to feel dependent. Also, keep in mind that you are their child. They may not want to accept advice from you, no matter how rational it might seem to you.

Instead of getting swept up, take a breather to dial down the conflict. Zarit recommends mindfulness training to help lessen stress and keep calm. Rooted in Buddhism, but no longer just religion-based, the practice teaches you to stay in the present with a focus on your breath. A geriatric mental health specialist can also help you come up with other ways to keep the peace.

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Dont Ignore Your Own Needs

Its natural to feel worried about your child when they are struggling with a debilitating disease like addiction. Letting your fears consume you, however, will stand in the way of your own happiness and peace of mind. Over time, continuing to put your loved ones needs above your own may also lead to feelings of resentment on your part.

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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Living Alone With Dementia

One of the most difficult conversations to have with a senior with Alzheimers involves discussing living arrangements. Living alone with dementia is risky, but most seniors prefer to age in place. As the disease progresses, risks of falling, wandering, leaving a stove on, forgetting medications, or experiencing isolation and loneliness increase.

The stage of the disease and safety are important factors to consider when discussing aging in place. Now is the time to consider in home care, support that can prove invaluable to a senior coping with dementia.

When a family comes to me with concerns about a loved one with dementia, I often recommend a home care provider so the older adult can safely remain at home for as long as possible. states Jill W. Love, Geriatric Care Manager with Peters and Love. Caregivers provide valuable assistance with meal preparation, personal care, medication reminders, companionship, supervision, and so much more. Since caregivers get to know their clients very well, they have the ability to improve the older adults quality of life through engagement and personalized care.;;As a geriatric care manager, I rely on the caregivers observations and insights when considering changes to the care plan, and I consider them an integral part of the care team.

Sometimes, its easier to take smaller steps rather than make one big change. If your aging parent expresses that they want to remain at home:

Do Invest In Your Own Recovery

How to Cope If You Have a Parent With Dementia

Self-care is just as important as supporting a loved ones recovery. Participate in activities that bring you joy and spend time with positive influences. Participating in family recovery services and workshops will help you experience your own parallel healing process. You can also attend family support groups like Nar-Anon, where you will meet other parents who are coping with their childrens addictions and learn strategies for healing along with your loved one.

Addiction does not discriminate based on age, and many individuals develop substance use disorders later in life. Luckily, even if your son or daughter falls into this category, they still have time to turn their life around. As much as you may want to shield your child from their inner demons, they need to make their own informed decisions. Nevertheless, as someone who has known and cared for them their entire lives, you can play a valuable role in encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.

The first step is to know that your questions and feelings are normal. The next step is to talk to someone about those feelings.

Click below to start your recovery journey today!

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Excessive Swearing Offensive Language And Inappropriate Comments

When a senior suddenly begins spouting the worst profanities, using offensive language or saying inappropriate things, family members are often baffled as to why and what they can do about it.

Caregivers have shared countless stories in the forum about elders who used to be mild-mannered and proper suddenly cursing at them or calling them insulting names. When these verbal outbursts happen in private, theyre hurtful; When they happen in public, its also embarrassing.

Coping With Verbally Aggressive Behavior in the Elderly

When this behavior is out of character for an elder and gradually gets worse, the start of Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia is a likely cause. If the onset is quite sudden, a urinary tract infection is another common culprit. UTIs present very differently in seniors than in younger individuals, and symptoms often include behavioral changes like agitation.

But if dementia is not an issue and a senior is just plain crass, how do you deal with swearing and rudeness? You can try to set firm ground rules for them. Make it perfectly clear that you will not tolerate such language, especially in public settings. A little bit of guilt may be effective in getting them to realize that their behavior is unacceptable and offensive to other people. Try something like, Dad, if Mom were here right now, she would be appalled by your language, or, You would never want your grandchildren to hear you speaking like that, would you?

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Caregiving In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

As Alzheimers or another dementia reaches the late stages, your loved one will likely require 24-hour care. They may be unable to walk or handle any personal care, have difficulty eating, be vulnerable to infections, and no longer able to express their needs. Problems with incontinence, mood, hallucinations, and delirium are also very common.

In your role as caregiver, youll likely be combining these new challenges with managing painful feelings of grief and loss and making difficult end-of-life decisions. You may even be experiencing relief that your loved ones long struggle is drawing to an end, or guilt that youve somehow failed as a caregiver. As at the other stages of your caregiving journey, its important to give yourself time to adjust, grieve your losses, and gain acceptance.

Since the caregiving demands are so extensive in the later stages, it may no longer be possible for you to provide the necessary care for your loved one alone. If the patient needs total support for routine activities such as bathing, dressing, or turning, you may not be strong enough to handle them on your own. Or you may feel that youre unable to ease their pain or make them as comfortable youd like. In such cases, you may want to consider moving them to a care facility such as a nursing home, where they can receive high levels of both custodial and medical care.

Connecting in the late stages of care

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New Approaches To Difficult Dementia Behaviors

When dealing with difficult behaviors from someone with dementia, its important to remember that they are not deliberately being difficult.

Our loved ones sense of reality may now be different from ours, but it is still very real to him or her. As caregivers, we cant change the person with dementia, but we can employ strategies to better accommodate any problem behaviors. Both the environment you create at home and the way you communicate with your loved one can make a significant difference.

These tips may help;get you through some difficult;moments using the What, When, Where, Why, How;technique shared in: When Caring Takes Courage: A Compassionate and Interactive Guide for Alzheimers and Dementia Caregivers.

Dementia And Alcoholism Dont Mix Well

Dealing With A Parent With Dementia – Louis Theroux: Extreme Love – Dementia – BBC

When someone with a history of alcohol abuse develops Alzheimers or dementia , it can become a very challenging situation for families to manage.

Alcoholism plus dementia causes faster decline in skills needed to function independently, worsens behavioral problems, and raises safety concerns for the person with dementia and the people caring for them.

Alcohol and medication are also a dangerous combination.

Someone who is drinking is at higher risk for serious drug interactions that could cause falls, increased confusion, internal bleeding, heart problems, and more.

What makes managing alcoholism especially tough is that the person with dementia often wont remember how much they drank, will resist attempts to reduce their drinking, and will neglect their nutrition, water intake, and hygiene.

Realistically, the overuse of alcohol has most likely been going on for a long time and will probably be a difficult behavior to change completely or quickly.

To reduce challenging symptoms and behaviors as well as make sure the situation is safe, weve got 6 tips for coping with dementia and alcohol abuse.

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Putting Things In The Wrong Place

This is different to: more normal age-related behaviours such as losing things but being able to retrace the steps to find them.

Losing things or putting things in strange places, and then being unable to retrace steps to find them again, is on the official observation list for early signs of dementia.

Sometimes someone else might be accused of stealing which may occur more frequently over time. ;For example, your dad may insist that a friend keeps stealing his money, whereas its in its regular hiding place.

Other examples that may indicate potential dementia symptoms could include:

  • Teabags in the fridge and leaving the milk out
  • Toothbrush in the washing basket
  • Remote control in the cutlery drawer
  • Dirty laundry in the dishwasher

Misplacing or losing items is more common in Alzheimers Disease, rather than vascular dementia. Find out more about the different types of dementia.

Know What You Cant Control

I think one of the biggest challenges for caregivers and situations is identifying what you can and cant control, says Christina Irving, a licensed clinical social worker. Even when there is dementia, we cant force people to do certain things we want them to do.

For example, you may want your parents to eat better, use a cane, or have in-home care. But they say no. At the end of the day, they still have the right to make their choices, even if we dont like their choices, says Irving, who is client services director at the Family Caregiver Alliance at the National Center on Caregiving in San Francisco.

Thats whats difficult: being the adult when your parents need , and not reverting to the child role, Ptacek says. Another big issue is her mothers expectations of her care. My mom cared for her mother, and lived with us, she says. Mom is thinking we owe her the same attentiveness she provided her mother. Thats not happening with any of us.

Anxiety and fear about whats going to happen, as well as guilt, can come into play too, Irving says. Individual counseling can be key for family caregivers. Youre dealing with your whole history. Sometimes its good, and sometimes its not so good. No matter your very best efforts, its important to understand you cant control everything.

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What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia

When the result of the doctors diagnosis of a family member is dementia or Alzheimers, the patient might enter the denial phase. Thats why some parents would rather withdraw from their social life. They shy away even from family and friends. When they do isolate themselves, they start to hallucinate or imagine things. Caring for them can become a real challenge for the whole family or the caregiver when their condition worsens. But first, let us know what stage theyre at so we can understand our mom or dad, or any family member with dementia. This will help us talk to them better and cope up with their behavior as their dementia progresses.

See which stage of dementia best describes your loved one, so you can prepare to care for this mental disorder:

Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline / Normal Behavior

Most people who show no symptoms are considered in the first stage. Your mom or dad may experience no signs of dementia although changes in the brain might have already started. These can happen a few years before any symptoms of the disease may appear. Those who are under this stage can function normally and may not show any obvious memory loss.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline / Forgetfulness

Stage 3: Mild Decline

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Stage 7: Very Severe Decline

Try Your Best To Understand

Newly Diagnosed Dementia Family Support Seminar

Try to think about the specific emotion that has caused the aggression. Regardless of how far away from reality a person may be, try to figure out how they perceive the specific situation.

In many cases, individuals who suffer dementia become aggressive because they first become frustrated with their memory loss. To help minimize violence, take steps to minimize their confusion.

If you have noticed that your loved ones aggression starts with confusion, take the time to ask them questions about how they are feeling. Really listen to what they say.

This is information that can be extremely useful in helping you figure out what they need to hear. When you know this, you can help them feel better about the situation.

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How To Help With Poor Judgment

The deterioration of brain cells caused by Alzheimers disease can lead to poor judgment and errors in thinking. Some of these symptoms are obvious and apparent, such as;hoarding household items, accusing a family member of stealing, or forgetting how to do routine tasks.

Some signs are more subtle, making it difficult for your aging loved one to realize theyre struggling. If youre curious and dont want to ask, take a look at a heating bill, suggests Mariotto. Sometimes payments are delinquent, or bills arent being paid at all.

Its important to;minimize frustration and embarrassment;for dementia patients, so know what works for your loved one and incorporate it into your caregiving strategy.

  • Listen and offer subtle help.
  • Work together to fix the problem.
  • Simplify a task or routine by breaking it down into smaller steps.

This is what Napoletan did for her mother: As I sifted through records to complete her tax return, I gently mentioned noticing a couple of overdraft fees and asked if the bank had perhaps made a mistake. As we talked through it, she volunteered that she was having more and more difficulty keeping things straight, and knew she had made some errors. She asked if I would mind helping with the checkbook going forward. I remember her being so relieved after we talked about it. From there, over time, Napoletan was gradually able to gain more control over her mothers finances.

DONT:;

Try To Comprehend Your Parents Point Of View

Imagine one day you are living independently, and the next thing you know, youre being told you have dementia. Thats a scary scenario, but one felt by everyone who has been affected by dementia. When a patient or family member with dementia refuses to go into care, its important to put yourself in their shoes. This will help you understand why your family member is angry or nervous. No one wants their independence taken from them, so do your best to show empathy and understanding.

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Tips On Transitioning A Loved One To Memory Dementia Or Alzheimer’s Care

As your loved ones memory declines, or as the effects of dementia or Alzheimers disease become too much for the family or caregivers to handle, you will have to make the decision to place her in memory, dementia, or Alzheimers care. After you have consulted your family and her healthcare professionals, made financial arrangements, and chosen your loved ones new home, you have to prepare for transitioning her to a new level of care. You understand the need for the move, but it still is difficult for you to accept the decision, and your;emotions run even higher when you think about telling your loved one and anticipate moving day.

To help ease the transition for your loved one , we have rounded up 50 tips from caregivers, memory care facility administrators, dementia and Alzheimers experts, and others who have experience in working with seniors who require special care. Keep in mind that everyone handles the transition differently, and you will need to use the tips that best fit your loved ones personality and needs and your situation. Please note, our 50 tips for easing the transition to memory, dementia, or Alzheimers care are not listed in order of importance or value in any way; rather, we have categorized them to help you find the tips that will be most useful to you.

Do Not Try And Alter Undesirable Behavior

How Jane Krakowski Dealt with Dementia in a Parent

Lack of understanding may push one to try and change or stop any undesirable behavior from patients who have dementia. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to teach new skills or even reason with the patient. Try instead to decrease frequency or intensity of the behavior. For instance, respond to emotion and not the changes in behavior. If a patient insists on always asking about a particular family member reassure them that he or she is safe and healthy as a way of keeping them calm and happy.

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