How to Cope If You Have a Parent With Dementia
Dementia is one diagnosis that everyone hates to hear. This is especially true if the person suffering from it is a parent.
A parent's role is to love, support, and protect. Suddenly there is a reversal of that role and you find yourself asking so many questions and facing uncertain days ahead.
Dealing with dementia in a parent is a highly stressful, but all too common problem facing many people today.
Here is helpful information if you have a parent with dementia.
Early Signs of Dementia
Everyone loses their keys sometimes or gets turned around in a parking lot. Even a late bill is not all that unusual. However, if these start to be a regular occurrence with your parent they have early warning signs of dementia.
Dementia is caused due to abnormal changes in the brain. This decline in brain function affects cognitive functions. Decision-making skills are diminished. There is an inability to do simple tasks like preparing meals and basic hygiene.
The forgetfulness is very troubling when your parent doesn't remember to take their medicine or misses important appointments. Behavior changes are also common along with the tendencies to wander off and get lost.
How to Deal With Dementia in a Parent
The first step is acceptance. This is both for you and your parent.
They will most likely resist the diagnosis, especially at first. It is scary and heartbreaking, and they need time to process it.
Reassure them often that they do not have to walk this road alone. Allow them to vent and express their feelings. Discuss who to share the diagnosis with and when.
Talk about ways you can help in the short term. Can you take them to appointments? Utilize apps to set reminders for medicine and eating. Plan regular visits and check-ins to make sure they are OK.
Treatment for Parent with Dementia
Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for this devastating disease. Some medications improve symptoms, but the fact remains that caring for a parent with dementia will involve a hands-on approach.
Sit down with them and talk about options. If your parent is still living at home, they will want to remain there as long as possible. If their symptoms are mild, this may be possible. You can also look into home health care options to assist in their daily function.
At some point, however, they will need full-time care. With the demands already on your plate, it may be time to look into the loving support and benefits of continuing care communities.
Don't Forget Yourself
Trying to balance caring for your family and a parent with dementia can be overwhelming. Don't forget to take care of yourself as well.
Make sure you eat well, get exercise, and adopt stress-relieving activities. Don't be afraid to reach out for help from both family and friends and the medical profession.
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