Caring for an aging parent can be challenging, especially if they are suffering from conditions that affect their cognition and behavior, such as dementia. There are instances when parents might resist care from their loved one, and it can be frustrating to deal with. Here are some tips for how you can care for your parent with dementia:

Understand The Condition

To adequately care for your parent, you should have the right information about the condition, including what it is, how it progresses, and how you can best deal with it. For instance, dementia can be coupled with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive condition that can worsen over time. It will help you if you can identify the different stages and adjust your care accordingly.

Schedule Activities

People suffering from dementia can lose grip of their cognition. They may forget things but establishing a routine can help them cope. However, it doesn’t mean that you should be rigidly following the schedule. Be open to spontaneity and flexibility, particularly during difficult moments.

Be Patient

One way of managing your frustration is preparing yourself that each day will be different from the other. There may be times when they will take longer to finish tasks. Similarly, they may also experience frustration so make sure to allow them breaks in between tasks.

Involve Your Parent

As a primary caregiver, it can be tempting to do everything for them. However, you also have to give them autonomy from time to time. Keep in mind that they still have a capacity to take care of themselves to a certain degree. For example, prepare their food on the table and place the utensils where they can reach it so they can take it as a cue to feed themselves. Another way is to lay out their clothes on the bed so they can independently dress up.

Give Simple Instructions

Always remember that a person’s cognitive health deteriorates when they have dementia. Whenever you are asking your parent to do a task, give them simple instructions. Make sure that you also communicate it using clear and easily understandable words.

Keep Environment Safe

Dementia can also cause your parent to have impaired judgment and problem solving skills, which can make them prone to injury. That’s why it is critical to make their home the safest as possible. Some safety precautions to apply, include:

  • Remove slippery rugs
  • Keep extension cords properly tucked away
  • Install handlebars or handrails
  • Put away toxic chemicals
  • Set hot water temperature at manageable levels to prevent burns
  • Keep emergency numbers handy
  • Invest in smart home assistants
  • Install hallway lights

Fight Caregiver Fatigue

It can be tiring to take care of a parent with dementia, and there may be times when you would feel like giving up. This is known as caregiver fatigue. When this happens, take a break, and ask help from other family members. Take turns in taking care of your parent so you would also have time to take care of yourself and your own family.

Assess Need For Outside Help

If taking care of your parent is already causing stress and anxiety, or it is affecting your life, it is time to have a talk about employing outside help. Looking for an assisted living facility that can be an option at this time. Hold a family meeting to learn about the pros and cons.Being a primary caregiver can become a full-time task that can take away much of your time from you. Consider these tips to help you give the best care for your parent.

By Mark Stevens

Published in the Art of Healthy Living, June 10, 2021

Categories: Family Caregiving