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How To Handle Dementia Parents

Tips For Communicating With Your Parent

Dealing with an aging parent with memory loss or dementia
  • Avoid power struggles. Dont push, nag or harangue your parents. Making ultimatums will only get their backs up, and yelling, arguing or slamming doors could seriously damage the relationship. Laura Ellen Christian,;15 Expert Tips for When Your Aging Parents Won’t Listen,;The Arbor Company; Twitter:;
  • Ask about your loved one’s preferences. Does your loved one have a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved one’s wishes, it’s important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.
  • Don’t fire off questions or ask complicated questions.;First off, don’t pepper elders with questions or complicated choices. Instead of saying, Do you have to use the bathroom? say, We are going to the bathroom. If the word shower upsets them, don’t use it. Come with me, you say, and you end up at the shower. If someone with dementia is frightened, acknowledge it and say, You are safe with me. I’ll protect you. After they’re calmer, you can try to get them to do something. The one question that people with dementia often respond to is this: I really need your help. Can you help me with this?” Stacey Burling,;They’re Not Just Stubborn: How to Get People with Dementia to Participate,;; Twitter:;
  • ;6 Ways To Handle Stubbornness In Seniors,;Alternatives for Seniors; Twitter:;
  • Legal Issues: Caring For Parents With Dementia

    Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated May 17, 2021

    Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other disorders that cause dementia have become more common among aging adults. While any form of memory loss is emotionally devastating for everyone involved, dementia can present extraordinary challenges for older adults and their families when drafting a will, making health care decisions, and taking care of other legal and financial matters.

    Moreover, it is often the children of dementia-affected adults who end up making decisions on their behalf. But it is important for family members to understand the legal and financial implications of their actions.

    The following factors should be considered when assessing your loved one’s mental capacity for making important legal, financial, and health-related decisions.

    Stick It Out With Them

    Pride may also stop them from accepting help. They may believe they are just fine on their own. This struggle may feel like an adolescent reversal for your loved one. Regardless, stick with them. Some reactions may consist of yelling, walking out, and throwing fits. This can stress anyone out. However, those actions are not enough to give up on them. Try to meet them in the middle where you can.

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    Do Not Get Angry Or Upset

    When looking after persons with dementia, practicing self-control is of utter importance. Learn how to breathe in and just relax without taking things personally or getting angry and upset. Remember that dementia patients do not act the way they do out of their own accord. It is the illness that makes them behave the way they do.

    Preserving Your Loved Ones Independence

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

    Take steps to slow the progression of symptoms. While treatments are available for some symptoms, lifestyle changes can also be effective weapons in slowing down the diseases progression. Exercising, eating and sleeping well, managing stress, and staying mentally and socially active are among the steps that can improve brain health and slow the process of deterioration. Making healthy lifestyle changes alongside your loved one can also help protect your own health and counter the stress of caregiving.

    Help with short-term memory loss. In the early stages, your loved one may need prompts or reminders to help them remember appointments, recall words or names, keep track of medications, or manage bills and money, for example. To help your loved one maintain their independence, instead of simply taking over every task yourself, try to work together as a partnership. Let your loved one indicate when they want help remembering a word, for example, or agree to check their calculations before paying bills. Encourage them to use a notebook or smartphone to create reminders to keep on hand.

    Also Check: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    Dealing With A Parent Who Denies Dementia Symptoms

    Is Dad or Mom having difficulty remembering;appointments or names? Or getting lost coming home from the grocery store? You may notice it is becoming more difficult to have a conversation as your parent becomes confused and cant find the words to finish a sentence.

    The signs of dementia are obvious to you, but when you mention the possibility to your parent, they deny the dementia symptoms and refuse to get help. What can you do?

    Its important to understand the two main reasons why a parent would deny dementia symptoms:

    Read: Day 1 With A New Caregiver In Your Home

    3. Be patient. If you are talking to a loved one in the early stages of dementia, he or she is not going to be able to focus on the conversation for a long period of time.

    As attention wanders, be patient, listen attentively, talk about other things, then bring the conversation back to the topic at hand. Wondering how to actually put it into practice? Try one of these tested strategies if you get stuck:

    “Every ounce of patience is required when Im looking after my first cousin. I mean, he acts so weird at times. So I learned to use three steps: First, I try to stay calm, and also attempt to make the home environment as mellow as possible. Next, Ive found that playing some of his favorite music helps create a positive vibe. I swear this works! Finally, whenever I can, I try to chunk down activities into small steps. It helps us stay focused and helps me be more patient.” – Man caring for his cousin with dementia

    Caring for a loved one with dementia can be difficult. Home Care Assistance has worked with leading experts to develop training programs for our teams so they can provide the specialized care needed for seniors experiencing cognitive decline. You can contact a Care Advisor at or and learn more about how we can support your needs.

    Learn about our elderly care services.

    Recommended Reading: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    Refusing To Accept Outside Caregivers

    It is an important milestone when family caregivers decide to hire in-home care for their loved ones, but this plan is often derailed when seniors refuse to let the new caregivers into their homes. Other elders will welcome home health aides in only long enough to tell them that they are fired!

    Coping With Elders Refusing Care

    The presence of an outsider suggests to the elder that their family cant take care of them. It also magnifies the extent of their needs and makes them feel vulnerable. Work to understand your loved ones reasons for resisting in-home care, which could include fear, embarrassment, resentment or some mix of the three. Talk to them about their feelings and work together to find solutions that everyone can live with. For example, if Mom hates the thought of letting a stranger into her home, arrange for her to meet the professional caregiver at the home care companys office or at a café for coffee first.

    Ask your loved one to simply give home care a try on a temporary basis. Instead of immediately introducing full days of hands-on care, it may help to have a home health aide come in for one day a week to do light housekeeping and meal preparation for a few hours. Experienced home care companies know how to handle situations like this, so dont hesitate to ask for their advice. Once the senior gets used to having someone in the house and establishes trust with a caregiver, they will be more comfortable with accepting additional help.


    New Approaches To Difficult Dementia Behaviors

    Helping Aging Parent with Dementia

    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.

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    Respite Care Caregiver Health And Behavioral Changes

    Caring for the caregiver is essential, especially when difficult behaviors present. Taking breaks makes it easier to cope with difficult behaviors. It also provides family caregivers with emotional strength to continue providing care. This is the reason why respite care is so valuable.

    Monica Moore, MSG, Community Health Manager for the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimers Disease Research at UCLA explains this best.

    Monica states, The Family Caregiver Alliance has found that 50% of caregivers die before the person they are caring for.; This dramatic number is due to the fact that so many caregivers ignore their own physical and emotional needs while they are entrenched in caregiving. ;Finding time and resources to provide respite to caregivers is essential.;Hiring in home help is not always for the person with dementia, but it is for the caregiver.; It provides a chance for a caregiver to focus on something other than the person they are caring for, a chance to take a walk, take a bath, or just breathe.;

    Alzheimers Association Recommends Maintaining Routines And Sticking By Them

    According to research, having a daily routine plan is one of the most effective methods for reducing challenging behaviors of a senior suffering from this disease. Give your mom or dad as much independence in daily tasks as possible.

    Much of the frustration in Alzheimers patients come from losing the ability to perform basic daily tasks. If you are caring for your parent, it may be based on their having taught you how to perform these tasks when you were a child. This loss of ability can lead to stubbornness when you try to step in and do the tasks for them. When possible, let your loved one perform intimate or basic tasks on their own. This can reduce stress and frustration for both parties.

    Recommended Reading: How To Move A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living

    Develop Helpful Daily Routines

    Having general daily routines and activities can provide a sense of consistency for an Alzheimers or dementia patient and help ease the demands of caregiving. Of course, as your loved ones ability to handle tasks deteriorates, youll need to update and revise these routines.

    Keep a sense of structure and familiarity. Try to keep consistent daily times for activities such as waking up, mealtimes, dressing, receiving visitors, and bedtime. Keeping these things at the same time and place can help orientate the person with dementia. Use cues to establish the different times of dayopening the curtains in the morning, for example, or playing soothing music at night to indicate bedtime.

    Involve your loved one in daily activities as much as theyre able. For example, they may not be able to tie their shoes, but may be able to put clothes in the hamper. Clipping plants in the yard may not be safe, but they may be able to weed, plant, or water.

    Vary activities to stimulate different sensessight, smell, hearing, and touchand movement. For example, you can try singing songs, telling stories, dancing, walking, or tactile activities such as painting, gardening, or playing with pets.

    Spend time outdoors. Going for a drive, visiting a park, or taking a short walk can be very therapeutic. Even just sitting outside can be relaxing.

    Understanding Aggressive Behavior In Dementia Patients

    How to Handle Defiant Behavior in Aging Parents with ...

    Aggressive behavior in dementia patients may manifest in several ways. It can involve everything from physical shows of aggression to angry outbursts, and anything in between.

    If you are providing care for someone who shows aggressive behavior, dealing with it may present a serious challenge. The good news is, there are a few tips that can help you get through these moments, and that may help you prevent them in the future.

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    Youll Hate The Laundry System

    Either make the decision to take it home to do it yourself, or understand that clothes are not going to get ironed, delicates arent going to be hand washed, and this is no place for dry clean only.

    On top of that, if the community will be doing the laundry, every last washable item must be labeled in Sharpie with your parents name . Yes, that includes sheets and towels. And, no, they dont sort by colors, whites, etc.

    Mostbut definitely not all!memory care communities wash each persons clothing separately. Check out the details and decide what you can live with before committing to how you want to handle this.

    Another surprise for many families: you need to bring your own hamper, too.

    Use Positive Coping Skills That Help You Feel Calm

    As you add more positive activities to your life, youll notice that your mindset gets better too. But how do you cope with an upsetting moment? What do you do after your mother says or does something hurtful and your feelings are swallowing you up?;

    Emotional pain may not leave a physical mark, but it can wound your mind and heart for a long time. You may feel distracted, unsure of yourself, and preoccupied with your feelings. Emotions can feel intense, but they come and go more easily if you understand how to manage them.

    Your reactions to your mothers words and behaviors are predictable. Thats good news because you can reduce how much stress they cause you. When your mother does something hurtful, pay attention to your emotions and name them.

    She counts on your reactions to make her feel stronger and more in control. By being proactive, you can learn which coping skills make these moments less stressful for you.

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    Accept When You Cant Cope

    Dont feel ashamed if you find your loved ones behaviour too challenging for you to cope with. Not everyone is a natural caregiver, so if this isnt your strength, seek out professional in dementia care. Many adult children are terrified of the idea of putting their parents into residential care, but nowadays there are increasing numbers of care at home options.

    For a generation used to independent living, private live-in care is a good option as it allows the person to stay in familiar surroundings, surrounded by treasured objects and mementoes, while receiving 24/7 care. A dedicated live-in carer, with elderly care and dementia training, provides companionship, security, reassurance and personal assistance throughout the day and night.

    It isnt giving up to employ a live-in care worker for your much-loved parent and you might be surprised at how affordable the cost of live-in care in the UK is. Some families simply do not thrive on an overturning of the traditional parent/child relationship. Or perhaps you just cant afford to take the necessary amounts of time off work. Maybe you live too far away to be of much practical assistance. Whatever your reasons, your parent will almost certainly be happier surrounded by their own familiar things in their own home, rather than face the confusion and uncertainty of a residential home.

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    Discovering that an elderly relative needs assistance in their day-to-day living arrangements can be a difficult time for families. With so many of us working to earn a living, dropping everything to arrange for care isnt straightforward. Its all too easy to feel guilty that you simply cant take on the role of caregiver yourself, even when its completely impractical to do so.

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    Know When To Ask For Help

    Caregiving is a full-time job, and some people make it their careers. Theres no shame in hiring someone to help you with your ailing parent. These caregivers are specially trained to deal with dementia patients and will know exactly what to do.

    There are different levels of caregiving aid available, from;respite care;to full-time caregiving around the home. Keeping your parent at home doesnt mean you have to be the only person caring for them.

    It can be the best option for your loved one, especially if they need more care than youre able to give, or if theyve put themself in harms way too many times. Its hard to pay full-time attention to an adult that needs a caregiver, especially when trying to care for your own needs on top of whatever other needs your household needs.

    Caring For A Parent With Dementia Is More Common Than You Think

    Finding out that your parent is struggling with dementia or Alzheimers can feel extremely isolating. However, it is important to understand that you are;not alone. According to WebMD, around;10 million Americans;have chosen to take care of a parent with dementia. Like you, many of them are trying to balance all aspects of their lives while still giving their loved one the care that he or she needs.

    Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

    Do Not Ignore Physical Abuse

    As much as one needs to be tolerant, kind, forgiving, and patient with older adults who have dementia, it does not mean that they have to excuse the patients when they become physically aggressive and allow the abuse to continue. It is not to be accepted, and if it happens, it is best to alert your doctor who will work on the solution to make sure it stops. It will keep both the patient and caregiver in safety.

    From physical manifestations to angry outbursts, taking care of an individual with dementia may not be easy. However, working with the tips above can help caregivers and loved ones to get through it. Remember that there are plenty of treatments, interventions and special care providers who can help; therefore, you should never be shy about getting help when you need it.


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