Advice On Looking After A Parent With Dementia

There are few aspects of life that are harder than looking after a parent with dementia. Here are a few useful pieces of advice on how to help a parent with dementia.

There are few aspects of life that are harder than looking after a parent with dementia. It can be heartbreaking to see the person who brought you up start to lose their memories and independence, and you will want to do everything that you can to help them during this tough time.

While it can be challenging, emotional, and draining, you will find that there are many ways in which you can make the most out of the time that you have with them and try to create happy new memories.

Here are a few useful pieces of advice for those looking after a parent with dementia.

Speak To Their Doctor And Maintain Close Contact

First, you should speak to their doctor to get a better understanding of the situation. Dementia is a broad term as there are different types and different levels, so you need to understand the situation that your parent is in and what the future is likely to look like. Additionally, you should maintain close contact with their doctor over time to stay on top of the situation and to find out what you should be doing to help at each stage.

Educate Yourself

Leading on from this, once you know the kind of dementia that they have, you can spend time educating yourself. When you learn about dementia, you can find out what the best ways to manage the situation are and also know what to expect in the short and long term. Of course, it is difficult and can be upsetting, but it is important to be prepared.

Be Patient And View It As An Illness

One of the hardest challenges when dealing with dementia is knowing how to manage when someone has difficulty when recalling facts or memories. It is easy to get upset, frustrated, and even angry in this situation, but creating a tense situation and challenging them will only make matters worse. Instead, it is important to be patient and supportive.

One of the best ways to cope is to understand that your parent has an illness and this is what is causing their memory issues. It is hard to accept at first, but over time, it becomes easier even if their memory gets worse. Additionally, this allows you to cherish the good days and the moments of clarity that they do have.

Find Activities That They Enjoy

It is also important to find activities that they enjoy to keep them busy and occupied. They may be able to enjoy the same activities but this can change as dementia develops, so it is important to try and find new activities that can keep them happy and busy.

There are a number of hobbies that are known to be good and can even help to maintain cognitive abilities, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Puzzles
  • Knitting
  • Listening to music
  • Arts and crafts
  • Watching TV
  • Spending time in nature

Help With Activities They Find Hard

You will also find that there will be some activities that become challenging as dementia progresses. Cooking, cleaning, bathing, and dressing are a few activities that can be problematic for those with dementia. Of course, you may not always be available for support, so you may need to develop a support network. This can consist of family members, friends, neighbors, and caregivers who can visit them at home.

Look Into Memory Care Facilities

Leading on from this, it is a smart idea to start looking at memory care facilities early on. There may come a point when you need to move your parent into a memory care facility and doing this ahead of time can make the decision a lot easier.

There are good options if you are looking for memory care in Rockville, MD with highly trained staff who know how to support and look after those with memory illnesses. This is all while providing a home-like environment where residents can also engage with others and enjoy daily activities.

It can be a tough decision to move a parent into a care home, but often you find that it is the best option and can greatly improve their quality of life, while also reducing a huge amount of stress for you.

Seek Your Own Support

Following on from the previous point, it is also important to seek your own support. In many ways, dementia is harder on the loved ones than it is on the individual. Many people struggle when supporting a parent with dementia and this is perfectly natural and understandable.

You should seek your own support from friends and family, but it is also a good idea to join a support group or community either online or in person. It is incredibly useful to engage with others who are in the same boat and it can be helpful both in terms of support and advice—and even finding humor in the situation (this can be one of the best ways to cope).

Enjoy Your Own Life

Finally, it is also important that you enjoy your own life. It is obviously important to look after your parent and ensure that they are getting the care that they need, but it should not consume your life. Your parent would not want you to spend every waking moment with them or worrying about them, so you should not feel guilty about leading your own life. This is why caregivers and memory care facilities can be so helpful as they can alleviate a lot of the stress and hard work involved, and give you more space for looking after yourself. In turn, this will make you a better caregiver and allow you to cherish the time that you spend together—and not see it as a chore.

Hopefully, the advice in this post will be useful for anyone who has a parent with dementia—whether they have just been diagnosed or were diagnosed a while ago but is in need of advice. It will never be easy and it will always be emotional and challenging, but there are ways in which you can support your parent and manage in the short and long term.

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