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How To Deal With Dementia In A Parent

Alzheimers & Dementia Care Offered At Terra Vista

Dealing with an aging parent with memory loss or dementia

It can be difficult to provide the proper care for a loved one with dementia on your own. The staff at our Alzheimers care facility are well trained in what to do when an individual with dementia refuses care. Through a resident-centered approach, we can deliver your loved one personalized care. We accomplish this by asking about your loved ones personal preferences and what their life was like before having dementia. From what they like to eat to what they did for a living, each question helps us develop a customized plan for your parent. We encourage you to take a tour of our facility or head to our website. If you have any questions about the accommodations and Alzheimers care programs at our dementia care facility, give our staff a call at 534-0886. See if Terra Vista can be the new place that your loved one calls home.

Check Existing And New Medication Interactions

Its important to be aware of new medications prescribed by the doctor to your loved one. Ask their physician and pharmacist to make sure that it wont create any adverse reaction when taken with their other prescription drugs. According to the Alzheimers Association, medication interactions may cause negative side effects and may result in aggressive behaviors.

Getting Your Paperwork In Order Early Is Essential

Dementia progresses differently for each person who suffers from the disease. It may be a long, slow decline for some people, while others may decline in larger, more profound steps.

Since this disease can be very unpredictable, and virtually everyone affected by it will need someone to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf at some point, it is crucial for your parent to provide you with the legal right to manage these issues.

When dealing with dementia in a parent, earlier is definitely better when it comes to these legalities. It is important that it is done while your parent still has the cognitive ability, and therefore the legal capacity, to grant you the authority to manage his or her affairs and explain how he or she would prefer them to be handled.

If the paperwork is not in place before your parents cognitive abilities are significantly affected by dementia, you can still obtain that legal authority through the court system, but it is a much more difficult and time-consuming process. If you arent sure what paperwork you need, seeing an attorney who specializes in elder law is your best first step to ensuring that you are ready and able to effectively manage your parents affairs.

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Ask Questions In Different Ways

When asking questions to understand your parents refusal of help, you may find yourself asking the same questions over and over. Instead, try leaving questions open-ended so that your parent feels like they have more than a yes or no answer. For example, lets say your loved one keeps complaining about a caregiver. Instead of asking if they want to change caregivers, you should ask what they would prefer that the caregiver did.

How To Talk To A Parent With Dementia

How to Deal with Dementia in a Parent: Caregiving &  Coping ...

Watching your parents or loved ones age over time with Alzheimers or other mental health disorders can be upsetting and difficult to accept. We know how scary and overwhelming it must be when somebody close to you is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers. It feels like receiving a death sentence for a terminal disease. The mere thought of your loved one slowly slipping away from you can be unbearable. It even becomes a struggle on how to talk to a parent with dementia, especially when the disease was detected in the later stages. You get frustrated over how they try to speak their mind but struggle to find the right words youre as confused as they are. Therell be times that talking seems no longer possible and this easily gets you discouraged.

Despite their condition, our parents need all the love, attention and care during this tough time. So, its crucial for family members to be the patients pillar of support and strength from the onset of dementia until its final stages. Preparing how to deal with dementia and how to talk to patients suffering from this dreaded disease is essential. It helps us foster connection and not further strain any relationships.

First, lets dive in deeper with the stages of dementia and their signs or symptoms.

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Spend Time With Your Partner And Children

Caring for someone with dementia can quickly become the focus of attention for the household. Young children and spouses can feel excluded and left behind. Take time to schedule activities for just the family. A family member or professional caregiver can stay with your loved one and bring special activities so it is a fun evening for him or her as well.

  • Create a family calendar. This should include not just appointments, but fun activities centered on togetherness.
  • Find a support system. Being the primary caregiver doesnt mean one has to be the only caregiver. Create a tag team and let other family members get involved.
  • Talk things through. Shine a light on the factors that may stress relationships by holding a family meeting.

Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia

We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut 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.

  • Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the personâs attention. Limit distractions and noiseâturn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved oneâs reply. If she is struggling for an answer, itâs okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.
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    Cope With Changes In Communication

    As your loved ones Alzheimers or dementia progresses, youll notice changes in how they communicate. They may have trouble finding words, substitute one word for another, repeat the same things over and over, or become easily confused. Increased hand gestures, losing their train of thought, and even inappropriate outbursts are all common as well.

    Even if your loved one has trouble maintaining a conversationor less interest in starting oneits important to encourage social interaction. Making them feel safe rather than stressed will make communication easier, so try to manage your own frustration levels.

    Be patient. If your loved one has difficulty recalling a word, for example, allow them time. Getting anxious or impatient will only inhibit their recall. Gently supply the word or tell the person that you can come back to it later.

    Be aware of your body language. Your loved one responds to your facial expression, tone of voice, and nonverbal cues as much as the words you choose. Make eye contact, stay calm, and keep a relaxed, open posture.

    Speak slowly and clearly. Give one direction or ask one question at a time, use short sentences, and give your loved one more time to process whats being said. Find a simpler way to say the same thing if it wasnt understood the first time.

    Maintain respect. Dont use patronizing language, baby talk, or sarcasm. It can cause hurt or confusion.

    New Approaches For Dealing With Difficult Dementia Behaviors

    Dealing With A Parent With Dementia – Louis Theroux: Extreme Love – Dementia – BBC
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  • 1 6 15 New Approaches Difficult Behaviors

  • When most people think of someone with Alzheimers disease or dementia, they picture a senior with a benign, slightly confused demeanor who repeats themselves. But, there is a whole spectrum of other types of behaviors associated with the disease that most of us wouldnt describe as slightly or pleasantly confused by any stretch of the imagination.

    From angry outbursts to more physical manifestations of behavior, understanding and dealing with our loved ones dementia behaviors may be one of the most stressful parts of being a caregiver. Fortunately, these tips listed below can help you get through the moment.

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    Expert Advice Does Help

    Some seniors are so stubborn they will not believe anything you say. It is not until a professional doctor tells them the same thing you have said before, that they would consider it.

    Experts come in all forms, from doctors, social workers, priests, and nurses. It is their credibility that can convince an elderly parent to accept assisted living or help from a caregiver. Experts can explain the benefits of receiving support and different treatments. Seek out and use these professionals as they can quickly change the mood of your loved one.

    Merely speaking to an expert or professional can give a loved one the confidence in a correct answer. During this process, it is essential to utilize every tool and strategy you can.

    Other Factors That Can Affect Behavior

    In addition to changes in the brain, other things may affect how people with Alzheimers behave:

    Other problems in their surroundings may affect behavior for a person with Alzheimers disease. Too much noise, such as TV, radio, or many people talking at once can cause frustration and confusion. Stepping from one type of flooring to another or the way the floor looks may make the person think he or she needs to take a step down. Mirrors may make them think that a mirror image is another person in the room. For tips on creating an Alzheimers-safe home, visit Home Safety and Alzheimers Disease.

    If you dont know what is causing the problem, call the doctor. It could be caused by a physical or medical issue.

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    Repetitive Speech Or Actions

    People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.

    • Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
    • Try distracting with a snack or activity.
    • Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
    • Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
    • You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
    • Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.

    How To Handle Aggressive Or Combative Behavior

    Are You Worried That Your Loved One Has Alzheimer

    A lot of times, aggression is coming from pure fear, says Tresa Mariotto, a social services supervisor in Bellingham, Washington, and certified trainer in dementia and mental health. People with dementia are more likely to hit, kick, or bite in response to feeling helpless or afraid. Managing aggression can be stressful for both you and your loved one.

    • Try to identify the behaviors cause.
    • Keep your tone light and supportive.
    • Redirect your loved one by involving them in another activity or conversation.
    • Remove your loved one from surroundings or environments that may be overstimulating during an outburst.

    This is where truly knowing your loved one is so important, says Ann Napoletan, writer at the blog The Long and Winding Road: An Alzheimers Journey and Beyond. In my moms case, she didnt like to be fussed over. If she was upset, oftentimes, trying to talk to her and calm her down only served to agitate her more. Likewise, touching her even to try and hold her hand or gently rub her arm or leg might result in her taking a swing. The best course of action, in that case, was to walk away and let her have the space she needed.

    Natural reactions to dementia behaviors can be ineffective or make the situation worse.

    DONT:

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    Ways To Reduce And Manage Mean Dementia Behavior

    1. Calm the situation downThe first thing to do is reduce the tension in the room.

    Start by limiting the distractions in the room, like turning off the TV or asking others to leave.

    And if you stay calm, theyre also more likely to calm down.

    It might help you to count to 10 or even leave the room for a short time to cool down. Repeat to yourself its the disease as a reminder that theyre not intentionally doing this.

    If the current activity seemed to cause the agitation, try shifting to a more pleasant, calming activity. Or, try soft music or a gentle massage.

    2. Comfort and reassure while checking for causes of discomfort or fearTake a deep breath, dont argue, and use a calm, soothing voice to reassure and comfort your older adult.

    It also helps to speak slowly and use short, direct sentences.

    Then, check for possible causes of agitation or fear, like:

    • Feeling disturbed by strange surroundings
    • Being overwhelmed by complicated tasks
    • Frustration because of the inability to communicate

    It also helps to focus on their emotions rather than their specific words or actions. Look for the feelings behind what theyre doing as a way to identify the cause.

    3. Keep track of and avoid possible triggersWhenever difficult behavior comes up, write down what happened, the time, and the date in a dedicated notebook.

    Also think about what was going on just before the behavior started and write that down as a possible trigger.

    Taking some time away can help both of you.

    Dealing With Stubbornness In Parents Living With Dementia: 50 Expert Tips For Communicating Gaining Cooperation And Understanding Behavior

    Caring for aging parents gives adult children peace of mind to know they are providing loving care. It also allows for them to make more memories and spend more time with parents in the final chapter of their lives. But caregiving is far from easy, especially when loved ones are diagnosed with dementia. Resisting care and general stubbornness are two hallmarks of dementia, and they are among the most common reasons that adult children look for help as caregivers.

    If youre unsure how to deal with stubbornness in parents with dementia, youre not alone. Most family caregivers of loved ones with dementia struggle daily with getting them to the doctor, gaining their cooperation, convincing them to bathe and brush their teeth, and communicating with them. Read on for a comprehensive list of tips from other caregivers, medical professionals, gerontologists, and dementia experts. Tips are categorized and listed them alphabetically within each category, but are not ranked or rated in any way.

    If you need help caring for a parent or a loved one with dementia at home, learn more about Seniorlinks coaching and financial assistance program for caregivers of Medicaid-eligible friends and family members.

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    Learn As Much As You Can About Dementia And Alzheimers

    Before you start administering care and treatment for your parent, you need to become well-versed on memory problems that go along with the diagnosis. This can keep you well-versed on medical advancement and studies so that you know about the right treatments and medications that may benefit your loved one. Knowledge isnt just a good thing for your parents well-being, it can also help reduce your stress levels as youre in the right state of mind to deal with problems as they arise.

    The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care

    How Jane Krakowski Dealt with Dementia in a Parent

    Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.

    As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.

    For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.

    Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.

    Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.

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