A new case of dementia is diagnosed every 3 seconds. This means that a lot of people are figuring out how to care for their loved ones who are suffering from this condition. Dementia can be very hard to manage at home, but if you’re faced with it, you need to learn some strategies to adjust.
If you need to learn how to deal with dementia in a parent, you’re in the right place. Nothing is going to make it easy, but there are ways to mitigate some of the difficulties.
Read on to learn 7 strategies for taking care of a parent with dementia in your home.
1. Make Adjustments to Your Home
People with dementia deal with certain risks that other people don’t necessarily have to worry about. If you’re determined to care for your loved one at your own home, you need to be committed to making certain changes to ensure their safety.
People with dementia suffer from an increased fall risk, meaning it might be prudent to remove anything that can increase the risk of falling. Area rugs and haphazardly placed objects, safe for the average person, pose a risk to people with dementia. It’s best to remove them.
It would also be good to install extra locks in the home, as people with dementia also have a tendency to wander and get lost.
2. Be Empathetic
It’s easy to become frustrated with people with dementia if you’re not used to being in a caregiving role.
It’s important to empathize with the person you’re caring for and remember the human behind the disorder.
People with dementia are often confused, scared, and disoriented. They may lose track of where they are, or worse, who they are. When frustrated, try to put yourself in their position and imagine how you would feel. It will make you a better caregiver.
3. Ask For Advice
Caregiving for an adult, especially an adult with dementia, is very different from caregiving for a child. There may be required skills that you simply don’t have yet. It doesn’t mean that you won’t develop them, but you’ll need to spend some time listening and observing to get there.
Listening to their doctor and asking specific questions about the best possible care for them will help you understand the best path for you to take to provide the most effective care for your loved one. If you’re unsure of how to deal with dementia in a parent, asking their doctor will help guide you.
As a caregiver for a parent, you won’t only be dealing with the normal stresses that all caregivers deal with. You’ll also be dealing with the grief that comes from the slow loss of a person you love. Networking with professional caregivers, social workers, and therapists might help you to manage these stresses and emotions.
4. Be Realistic
Not every day with a dementia patient is going to be a good day. Dementia, generally speaking, is going to last for the rest of the loved one’s life, and there are going to be hills and valleys during this period.
While there will definitely be good days, the disease progresses over time and will continue to get worse. Being realistic with your expectations will allow you to avoid disappointment with yourself and with the person that you’re caring for.
5. Be Prepared for Change
Dementia changes form over time, and it doesn’t always just look like confusion and memory loss. There is a neurological decline going on behind the scenes.
Sometimes dementia patients can become aggressive or angry, they can go through major mood or personality shifts. They can hallucinate, or become completely delusional. These are all normal stages of the condition, but preparing for them will help you adjust when they happen.
Eventually, people with dementia may not be able to carry out the functions of their daily lives. Caregiving becomes progressively harder over time.
6. Take Time for Yourself
Caregiving for someone with dementia can cause you to lose sight of your own life, wants, and needs.
Don’t forget about your other loved ones, including friends, partners, and children. Explain your situation to them, but don’t forget to spend time with them.
It’s easy to experience burnout as a caregiver, which can give way to a host of other problems that will leave you less able to take care of your parent or yourself. You could begin to suffer from depression or extreme fatigue, and even apathy.
7. Know When to Ask for Help
Caregiving is a full-time job, and some people make it their careers. There’s 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 doesn’t 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 you’re able to give, or if they’ve put themself in harm’s way too many times. It’s 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.
Do You Know How to Deal With Dementia in a Parent?
Coping with dementia in a loved one is never going to be easy, but there are ways to manage your time and expectations to make it easier on yourself and the parent.
You’re not expected to know everything about how to deal with dementia in a parent, and that’s why there are seasoned professionals who make this their life’s work. Whether you plan on keeping your parent at home, or you’re ready to send them to an assisted living facility, there are professional options as well.
For more information on caregivers and how they can benefit your living situation, contact us or check out our blog. We aim to provide the best quality care for your loved ones, regardless of the situation.