If either of your parents have been showing signs of cognitive decline as they’ve aged, it might be a sign that they’re dealing with dementia. This is a heartbreaking thing to witness, as it means your parents might eventually have trouble recognizing you and other loved ones. However, you still need to make sure you’re doing all you can to support them. These are ways to help your aging parents with dementia.
Find Them Outside Help
Elderly people without dementia can benefit from aides like nurses and housekeepers. If your parents have dementia, they absolutely need at least one person who can monitor them. One of them might not be afflicted, but the situation can still put a lot of stress on them. The shift from spouse to full-time caretaker is very difficult to endure, no matter how much your parents love each other. Bringing in someone else like an in-home caretaker can help both of your parents to get through this experience.
Help Them With Responsibilities
Retirement doesn’t mean an end to responsibilities, and having dementia means that these are much more difficult to fulfill. There are things like cooking and driving that your parents will no longer be able to perform safely with dementia. Help them out by taking care of their meals and errands when you can. This can be a good way to give their home care a break. Have nights when you bring them food for an early dinner. This is a good way to help maintain a bond with them and show that you love them.
Schedule Regular Doctor Appointment
Aging parents in general need to see their doctors often anyway, but it’s especially important for those with dementia. Your parents’ doctor may be able to diagnose dementia even before the signs have really presented themselves. After the diagnosis, they’ll need many follow ups to keep track of the progression. Explain changes you’ve noticed, positive and negative. While their doctor will be able to notice developments in their cognition and other areas, you need to be able to provide them as much information for what’s happening in other parts of their life.
Find Them Assisted Living
As dementia worsens, the need for your parent or parents to have round-the-clock care grows. You should pay attention to clues and listen to the advice of trusted individuals, such as their doctors, so that you’re able to peacefully transition them into a new living situation. At a dependable assisted living facility, they’ll be able to receive the care they need. It should never feel as though you’re abandoning your parents by putting them in an assisted living facility. You’re giving them an opportunity to be properly cared for and not at risk for putting themselves in danger.
Be Patient With Them
Seeing your parents go through dementia can be very heartbreaking and provoke other negative emotions. During initial stages, they might be resistant to help, trying to convince you that everything is okay, even if the signs are clearly to the contrary. Refrain from turning this situation into an argument. Speak from a place of compassion and show them that you care about them and their well-being. Explain the measures they’re taking are for their safety. It might not be an immediate turnaround of their opinion, but persistence and patience can be very helpful tools.
Enjoy Quality Time Together
You won’t be able to have the exact same experiences with your parents as you did before, but you can still enjoy each other’s company. Something as simple as enjoying a meal or listening to music together can really be effective. It’s not going to cure their dementia, but it can help to keep positive emotions going, which is very important. Don’t let dementia be a reason you turn your back on your parents, no matter how emotionally challenging it can be. As much as you might feel stressed out and overwhelmed by this, you need to be there for your parents.