Caring for a parent with dementia comes with practice and perseverance. After all, going from dependent to provider can be a startling reversal of roles. Being a working individual or having kids to look after adds an additional layer of complexity, requiring an incredible level of patience and absolute trust in your relationships. Be wary that acting as a guardian for your parent potentially impacts your family, health or marriage. Read on to learn how to care for your parent in the best way possible.
Educate Yourself on Dementia
It’s important for you to know what dementia is all about. This way, you can fully understand the kind of care your parent will need. Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest advances in dementia treatments and any available medicines that could support your parent’s health. Besides more accurately allowing you to address your parent’s concerns, having the latest knowledge on dementia treatments will help lower your anxiety and nip any challenges in the bud.
Look for Help with Dementia Care
Looking after a parent with dementia doesn’t need to be lonely. As an individual, you are entitled to your own needs, and talking to someone is a necessary component of de-stressing from your caregiving routine. Consider discussing the hard work of looking after your parent with your doctor, siblings or spouse in order to blow off some steam. Besides drawing support from your social groups, you can turn to the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Association Area Agency on Aging in your local residency.
Plan for Dementia Care
The sooner you accept your parent’s dementia diagnosis, the better. It can be a bitter pill to swallow and it’s normal to feel apprehensive. However, you should take pride in yourself for being the primary source of hope for your parent. It is common for dementia patients to live 10 years or longer from the point of their diagnosis. Given this timeline, you should be mentally prepared for the added responsibility by acknowledging that spontaneous dinner plans may no longer be an option. In short, being your parent’s primary caregiver is a significant responsibility and will require you to be much more organized with your plans.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Maintaining positivity through this experience can feel extremely difficult. However, try not to get angry when your parent with dementia tells you the same story for the fifteenth time. Instead, listen to the story with a compassionate ear and allow your parent to feel the enjoyment of reminiscing in an old memory.
Caring for a Parent with Dementia Is not Uncommon
It’s normal to feel a sense of anguish when your parent struggles to remember your name. Looking after a parent who has been diagnosed with dementia can be an incredibly daunting experience. WebMD states that approximately 10 million Americans are guardians to a parent with dementia. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and there are many others out there trying to live a healthy life while managing this added responsibility.