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How to Deal with Dementia in a Parent

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A senior woman holding onto a window sill and looking out of the window with a serious expression.

If a parent has been diagnosed with dementia, it can be a challenging time emotionally, but it’s an opportunity for both of you to grow closer and support each other. Here are some tips on how to deal with dementia in a parent:

  1. Educate yourself about dementia
  2. Be patient and understanding
  3. Create a safe and comfortable environment
  4. Communicate effectively
  5. Seek support and assistance
  6. Take care of your own well-being
  7. Plan for the future

1. Educate Yourself About Dementia

The first step in dealing with dementia in a parent is to educate yourself about the condition. This can help you understand what your parent is going through and how it will affect their daily life. 

It’s important to learn about the different types of dementia, common symptoms, and how the disease progresses. This knowledge will also help you anticipate and prepare for any challenges that may arise.

2. Be Patient & Understanding

It’s important to remember that your parent is not intentionally behaving in certain ways because they want to, but rather because of the changes happening in their brain due to dementia. 

It can be frustrating when your parent repeats themselves or forgets things, but it’s important to remain patient and understanding. Try to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.

3. Create a Safe & Comfortable Environment

People with dementia can become easily confused and disoriented, which can lead to accidents and injuries. It’s crucial to create a safe and comfortable environment for your parent. This includes removing potential hazards such as loose rugs or clutter, installing handrails in hallways and bathrooms, and ensuring that the house is well-lit. It’s also important to keep a consistent routine for your parent to help them feel more secure.

4. Communicate Effectively

As dementia progresses, your parent may have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings. It’s important to be patient and understanding and find ways to effectively communicate with them. 

You can:

  • Use simple language
  • Ask 1 question at a time
  • Avoid arguments or corrections

Non-verbal communication can also be helpful, such as using hand gestures or facial expressions.

5. Seek Support & Assistance

Caring for a parent with dementia can be emotionally and physically draining. It’s important to seek support from other family members, friends, or support groups. 

Talking to others who are going through a similar experience can be incredibly helpful and provide much-needed emotional support. It’s also important to take breaks and prioritize self-care.

6. Take Care of Your Own Well-Being

Caring for a parent with dementia can sometimes feel overwhelming and exhausting, so it’s important to also take care of your own well-being. 

This includes:

  • Getting enough rest
  • Eating well
  • Finding ways to manage stress

Engaging in activities you enjoy and taking breaks from caregiving responsibilities can help prevent burnout.

7. Plan for the Future

It’s important to have discussions with your parent about their future care and wishes while they are still able to participate in these conversations. This can help ensure that their wishes are respected and followed in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. 

It’s also important to plan financial and legal matters, such as setting up power of attorney and discussing long-term care options.

Benefits of Memory Care Communities

Memory care communities provide care for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They offer a range of services and support to help improve the quality of life for those living with memory loss. 

Some benefits of memory care communities include:

  • Trained and experienced staff: Memory care communities have staff who are specifically trained to work with individuals with dementia. They understand their unique needs and challenges and can provide appropriate care and support.
  • Safe and secure environment: Memory care communities are designed to be safe and secure. This gives caregivers peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are in a place where they will be monitored and kept safe.
  • Specialized activities and programs: Memory care communities offer activities, programs, and therapies that are tailored to the needs of those with memory loss. These can include art therapy, music therapy, cognitive exercises, and more.
  • Socialization opportunities: Residents in memory care communities have the opportunity to interact with others who are going through similar experiences. This can help reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging.
  • Personalized care: Memory care communities offer individualized care plans for each resident based on their specific needs and abilities. This allows for a more personalized approach to care, ensuring that each resident receives the support and assistance they need.
  • Nutritious meals: Memory care communities provide nutritious meals that are specifically designed for individuals with memory loss. This can help improve their health and well-being.
  • Support for families: Memory care communities also offer support for family members and caregivers of individuals with memory loss. This can include education, support groups, and memory care to give caregivers a break when needed.
A senior man and his daughter smiling while looking at a photo album together.

Understanding & Supporting People with Dementia 

Dealing with a parent who is navigating the complexities of dementia can be an emotional and challenging journey. The key to managing this situation lies in understanding the illness, communicating with empathy, and seeking appropriate care options such as memory care communities.

At Yorkshire of Edina, our memory care community provides specialized care for individuals with dementia and other forms of memory loss. Our dedicated team of caregivers is trained to understand each resident’s unique needs and provide compassionate and personalized care. Contact us today to learn more about the services and amenities we offer.

Written by Lifespark

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