Most family caregivers don’t know how to help an elderly parent with dementia.
Whether your loved one is in the early, middle, or late stage of dementia, caring for a parent with dementia can be a challenging task. This is especially true if you have your own family, job, and personal responsibilities to tend to.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make caring for a dementia family member at home easier and less stressful.
If you’re taking care of a parent with dementia, then keep reading.
In this article, we’re sharing expert advice on caring for a relative with dementia. We’ll provide some top tips for helping parents with Alzheimer’s and information on what getting help for a parent with dementia looks like.
Let’s jump right into a practical answer to, “How can I help my mother or father with dementia?”
How to Help an Elderly Parent with Dementia
Unfortunately, dementia still has no treatment or cure so there’s no good answer to, “How can I treat dementia at home?”
However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your loved one enjoys a high quality of life even as they age. Following these steps will also help you to better care for your loved one and relish your time with them.
Here are our top four tips regarding caring for a parent or loved one with dementia.
1. Understand the Disease
The first step to caring for a relative with dementia is to research and understand the disease.
Take some time to learn about:
- Common signs and symptoms of dementia (e.g., forgetfulness, confusion, etc.)
- The different types of dementia
- What characterizes the early, middle, and late stages of dementia
- Behavioral or health issues, like sundowning and sleeplessness
- The viability of living independently with dementia
- Different care options, like in-home care management or caregivers for seniors with dementia
Having knowledge about dementia will help prepare you for what’s to come, allowing you to respond better and provide higher quality care as your loved one’s dementia progresses.
2. Make Financial and Legal Preparations
Second, you’ll want to start making legal and financial preparations. It’s best to begin this process during the early stage of dementia so that your loved one can participate and help make any decisions.
When taking care of a parent with dementia, you’ll want to:
- Gather up their important legal documents (e.g., birth certificate, social security card, house deed, etc.)
- Consider getting power of attorney and medical power of attorney
- Understand your parents’ financial situation to evaluate long-term care expenses
- Have your loved one draft up a living will and a standard will if they haven’t already
- Think about getting guardianship of your loved one
Talking to an elder care attorney can also be helpful in ensuring that you don’t miss anything.
3. Exercise Patience and Compassion
As dementia progresses and your loved one shows more severe symptoms, emotions can also heighten and intensify. For those helping parents with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to practice patience and compassion with your loved one.
If you find that you’re getting too frustrated, it might be helpful to step away from the situation for a few minutes until you cool down. Regularly engaging in stress-relieving activities, like exercise or a favorite hobby, can also provide you with an outlet.
Caring for a dementia family member at home can be challenging, but exercising patience, minimizing stress, and reaching out to experienced care managers can make the care process easier.
4. Safety-proof Your Loved One’s Home
Safety-proofing your loved one’s residence is another practical step to take for those wondering how to take care of an elderly parent with dementia.
Not only will dementia affect your loved one’s memory, but it can also affect their coordination and ability to move around safely. Some safety precautions to put in place include:
- Tightening or installing stairway railings
- Removing clutter and other tripping hazards from the floor
- Keeping rooms well lit
- Placing non-slip strips in the bathroom/shower
It’s also common for individuals with dementia to wander and get lost. Placing dementia-proof locks on doors and installing an elderly monitoring device can give you peace of mind and keep your loved one safe.
Get Expert Help Caring for a Parent with Dementia Today
The CDC expects that there will be nearly 14 million Americans with dementia by the year 2060, meaning that you may be caring for a parent or relative with dementia at some point.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t prepared and don’t know how to take care of an elderly parent or relative with dementia. Four steps you can take when caring for a relative with dementia are:
- Research and understand the disease
- Make financial and legal preparations
- Exercise patience and compassion
- Safety-proof your loved one’s home
Additionally, in-home care for dementia parents is a great way to receive professional help. Care managers and in-home caregivers provide:
- Care resources and relief for family caregivers
- Improved quality of life for family members with dementia
Stowell Associates makes getting help for a parent with dementia simple and easy. Our elder care experts (Care Managers) come alongside family caregivers to provide resources and expertise throughout the caregiving process. They help manage family dynamics for every client, and their collaborative approach is designed to manage health conditions more effectively.
If you’re looking for an in-home caregiver for your loved one, you can contact TheKey. They provide trained, in-person caregivers to assist aging adults as they age in their homes.
Contact us today to learn more about home care management for elderly adults with dementia.