Caring for a parent with dementia at home can be challenging for adult children.
As an adult child to elderly parents, you have your own life responsibilities to handle and may not have the time to provide care for your parents. Even if you have some time to care for your parents with dementia, you may not know how to take care of a parent with dementia.
Are you an adult child who has a parent with dementia?
Do you know how to take care of a parent with dementia?
Have you looked into professional in-home care for dementia patients?
If you’re living with an Alzheimer’s parent and want to know how to handle an elderly parent with dementia, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’re providing expert insight into caring for a parent with dementia. As you read, you’ll learn how to care for a family member with dementia.
Keep scrolling to learn how to find exceptional in-home dementia care when a loved one has dementia.
The Different Stages Parents With Dementia Will Experience
There are three stages of dementia, each with increasing symptoms and levels of care:
- Early stage
- Mid stage
- Late stage
When a loved one has dementia, their decline is usually gradual, and symptoms will slowly worsen over time. But not everyone’s the same, and some people’s dementia stages and symptoms will progress more quickly or slowly than others.
Here’s a quick look at these three stages of dementia and some of the associated symptoms.
In the initial stage of dementia, symptoms are slight and usually relate to short-term memory. Your loved one will often struggle with things like:
- Remembering new names and place
- Following recipes or directions
- Forgetting where they place items
However, their overall cognitive health often allows them to live and function normally and independently—most people in the early stage of dementia can still drive and live alone comfortably.
Caring for a parent with dementia in the early stages simply means monitoring their overall health and helping them recall information.
As dementia progresses into the mid stage, symptoms become more pronounced.
In the mid stage, a parent with dementia will start to exhibit changes in:
- Physical limitations
Your parent will also forget things more regularly, and sleeplessness, wandering, and confusion in familiar places will become common occurrences.
It’s at this stage that someone with dementia needs increased hands-on care, and most adult children should start considering their parent’s safety and living situation. It’s helpful to begin thinking about how to handle an elderly parent with dementia and what long-term dementia care options are available.
It’s also a good idea to look into help for dementia patients at home, as parents with dementia in the mid stage often can’t live alone.
The late stage of dementia is the final stage.
At this stage, cognitive and physical decline is rapid and incredibly pronounced. A parent with dementia in the late stage will often lose the ability to:
- Recognize family members
- Respond to their environment
- Perform life tasks independently (e.g., getting in and out of bed, dressing, feeding, etc.)
Individuals in the late stage of dementia usually need 24-hour care, so caring for a parent with dementia at home in this stage is very difficult for adult children.
To help alleviate the burden of care, adult children can find home help for elderly parents with dementia or look into dementia nursing homes.
However, during the early and mid stages, there are many ways that adult children can provide care to their loved one.
Let’s take a look at how to care for a family member with dementia at home.
How to Care for Parents with Dementia at Home
Taking care of your aging parents can be a great way to ensure their health, safety, and quality of life. However, not everyone knows how to take care of a parent with dementia.
Here are five quick tips to help you know what to do when a loved one has dementia.
1. Create a Safe Environment
Home safety is a top priority when it comes to caring for parents with dementia. Whether your parent lives in their home or has moved in with you, it’s essential to create a safe environment.
- Clean up clutter and remove tripping hazards, like throw rugs
- Install or tighten railings on stairs and in the bathroom
- Give them a bedroom downstairs to avoid unnecessary trips up and down stairs
- Get an elderly video or GPS monitoring system
- Make sure rooms are well lit
And as dementia progresses, it’s crucial to monitor your parent’s situation and make additional safety changes as needed.
2. Get Finances and Legal Matters in Order
Getting financial and legal matters in order is another good step to take when caring for a parent with dementia.
Some things you may want to consider include:
- Getting power of attorney for your parents
- Taking stock of your parent’s financial situation
- Looking into costs of home care or assisted living
- Locating your parent’s will, Social Security card, birth certificate, house deed/title, and other important documents
Talking with an elder law attorney can be a great way to ensure no legal or financial stones remain unturned.
3. Make Time for Self Care
Caring for or living with an Alzheimer’s parent also requires that you care for yourself. It’s easy to become exhausted and experience caregiver burnout, especially when caring for someone with dementia.
You’ll want to work in time to take care of personal matters, spend time with your immediate family, and partake in hobbies.
Setting aside time for yourself and your family might look like:
- Scheduling a weekly date night with your spouse
- Continuing to take your kids to/from school, sporting events, etc.
- Blocking off time each week to exercise or go to the gym
And if the burden of care becomes too overwhelming for you and you find that you don’t have any time for yourself, you may need to consider getting some help.
4. Find In-home Dementia Help
As dementia progresses and your loved one needs increasing levels of care, you may need to seek professional home care help.
In-home caregivers work for home care agencies that specialize in caring for elderly adults. These caregivers have training in helping seniors with everyday tasks like:
- Bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Meal prep
- Transportation services
Caregivers also receive dementia-specific training, so they know how to handle elderly parents with dementia.
Two of the main benefits of professional in-home care include:
- Improving the quality of your loved one’s life: Your loved one will receive quality hands-on care from trained professionals. And as your loved one’s dementia progresses, so will their level of care.
- Removing your burden of care: You’ll receive respite and relief from the stresses of being a primary caregiver. This will allow you more time to yourself and quality time with your loved one.
Ultimately, in-home care exists to help both you and your aging parents deal with the challenges of dementia.
Expert Help Caring for Parents With Dementia at Home
Dementia is a progressive disease that affects someone’s cognitive and physical abilities.
In the early stage of dementia, a parent with dementia will show signs of short-term memory lapses but can still function independently. The mid stage brings increased memory loss, sleeplessness, wandering, and confusion. By the late stage, most individuals experience a steep decline in cognitive and physical abilities.
It’s usually in the mid and late stages that people should start thinking about how to handle an elderly parent with dementia. As an adult child, you may not have the time or might not know how to care for an elderly parent with dementia.
If you’re an adult child with a parent who has dementia and you’re thinking about caring for them yourself, four things you can do are:
- Create a safe environment
- Sort our financial and legal matters
- Make time for yourself
- Find in-home dementia help
For those in need of help caring for a loved one with dementia, there’s only one place to look when it comes to in-home help for elderly parents with dementia.
At Stowell Associates, our passion is to provide exceptional in-home elder care to aging adults. With nearly 40 years of experience, we know how to care for parents with dementia. First, our Care Managers talk with you, assess your loved one’s condition, and create a custom care plan that suits your loved one’s needs. Then, our highly-trained caregivers enter your loved one’s home to put the care plan into action. Whatever level of care your loved one needs, we’re ready to provide it.
Contact our Care Advisors today to hear more about in-home dementia care for your loved one.