What to Do When Your Parent Has Dementia
Dementia can be a very cruel condition. Not to get too philosophical, but our memories make up, to a large extent, who we are. Our collected experiences over decades of existence. To lose them is difficult. And to see a parent or elderly loved one lose their memory can be very disheartening indeed. But all is not lost. Dementia is not a sentence for eternal dread or doom. There are things you can do to make life more manageable and, yes, even enjoyable if your parent has dementia.
Dementia is not a specific disorder or disease in and of itself. Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders that affect the brain. These symptoms can include difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, and language, and memory loss. These symptoms can be severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Some people with dementia also have trouble controlling and regulating their moods and emotions.
Dementia is progressive. It’s sad, but true; dementia just gets worse as more brain cells become damaged and eventually die. Many diseases can cause dementia, such Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia (due to strokes), Lewy Body Disease, head trauma, fronto-temporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. These conditions often have similar and overlapping symptoms.
The first tip we have for you after being told your parent has dementia is to not despair. For starters, it is important to note that some treatable conditions can produce symptoms similar to dementia, for example, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disease, sleep disorders, or mental illness. That is why it is of the utmost importance to arrange for a full medical assessment as early as possible. Just to confirm what you’re dealing with.
Don’t be superman
A common reaction for people whose parents have been diagnosed with dementia is to promise to be there with them as much as possible and help them whenever necessary. This is an admirable reaction, but over the long haul, it’s just not practical. You are not your parent’s professional, around the clock caregiver. You have your own life to lead. Your own job, own family, own friends, own responsibilities, etc. Not to mention, when you do get to spend time with your parent, do you really want to just be working for them? No, you want to enjoy their company. That’s why you should look at your caring options.
Caring options for dementia
The good news is you have several caring options for dementia. There are many nursing homes and assisted living facilities equipped to deal with residents with dementia. But do you really want to move your parents out of their home, perhaps one of the few places they recognize and remember, and into a nursing home? Not if you can help it. That is why in-home care is so great.
Your caring options in-home for your parent with dementia are many. If your parent is still high-functioning, a caregiver coming by once in a while to check up and help might be all you need. Some seniors with dementia need around the clock care, but that, too, is available with live-in care.
To learn more about your caring options for dementia, please contact us today.BACK