How to Support a Parent With Dementia
When a parent is diagnosed with dementia, it can be challenging to know how to best support them. The disease can progress in different ways for different people, so it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms and be ready for changes in behavior.
You can do many things to help your parents stay as independent as possible for as long as possible.
If your parent has dementia, here are some valuable tips to help you treat them with respect and kindness:
Understand the signs and symptoms of dementia. It will help you better understand your parent’s condition and how it might progress. Some common signs and symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty communicating, behavioral changes, and impaired motor skills.
● Talk to a health professional, such as your doctor, caregiver, or occupational therapist, to help you identify the signs and symptoms associated with dementia.
● Also, healthcare professionals can provide you with the support you need to cope with the day-to-day challenges of having a parent with dementia.
Be patient and understanding. It's challenging to communicate with a parent who has dementia. They may have trouble understanding what you’re saying or may say things that make little sense. Use these tips to help you develop patience and understanding:
● Talk slowly and clearly and use short, simple sentences.
● Allow plenty of time for your parent to respond and avoid questions that require complicated answers.
● If your parent becomes agitated, try to stay calm and avoid conflict and disagreements.
Help your parents stay independent for as long as possible. You can do several steps to help your parents maintain their independence. Some ideas include:
● Encourage your parents to stay active in activities they enjoy. It could involve going for walks, doing puzzles, or attending social events.
● Help them with basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating. If your parent has advanced dementia, a professional caregiver will have to step in or assist you.
● Make sure their home is safe and easy to navigate. It may involve removing trip hazards, installing handrails, or providing assistive devices such as a wheelchair or walker.
● Encourage your parents to eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. It is crucial as dehydration can worsen the symptoms of dementia.
● Promote social interaction by arranging regular visits from friends and family members.
Plan activities that your parents will enjoy. It’s important to find activities that your parents will enjoy and be able to take part in. Some ideas include:
● Attending social events such as concerts, plays or sporting events
● Engaging in gardening, painting, crafting, or listening to music
● Taking part in group activities such as support groups, book clubs, or religious groups
● Spending time in nature
● Also, physical activities such as walking, swimming, and Tai Chi can help.
Seek support from other family members or professionals. It’s important to seek support from other family members or professionals to help you care for your parents. Some ideas include:
● Attend a support group for caregivers of people with dementia.
● Hire a professional caregiver to provide respite care.
● Ask other family members or friends to help with transport, shopping, or other tasks.
● Use government services and programs designed to help caregivers of people with dementia. Contact a helpline like the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline for support and information.
These are some tips to help you treat your parents with dementia. It’s important to be patient and understanding, help them stay independent, and plan activities they will enjoy. Also, seek support from other family members or professionals to make the caregiving journey more manageable and less stressful for you and your parent