When it comes to our parents, it can be pretty difficult when we see that they are no longer able to care for themselves safely. It takes a lot of patience and flexibility to care for your loved ones, especially when you have an elderly parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, there are some helpful things that you can do to help ease the difficulties of caring for your loved one with memory loss.

Tips To Help an Elderly Parent With Dementia

parent with dementia

1.   Scheduling

Studies have shown that people suffering from memory loss do much better when they have a routine schedule. Make days as predictable as possible. Schedule doctor appointments, bath times, and dining for parts of the day where your loved one is usually calmer and more agreeable.

This routine can help your parent become familiar with these experiences, be more relaxed, and have a more positive and stress-free outlook.

2.   Cues

Explain regular, everyday things. For example, naming a drawer by what you would put into it will most likely result in them putting things in the correct places. Do this in the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else that they frequent. This can ease things for both you and your parents.

3.   Remove danger

Remove items that could endanger your loved ones. For instance, things like knives, car keys, lighters, or matches. They may not be able to remember something that happened earlier in the day, but they will likely be able to remember something that happened 30 or more years ago. They may attempt to do something the same as they would have 30 years before, but clearly, that is no longer a safe option for them.

4.   Use technology

As people are now living much longer lives in general, technology is striving to keep up with the needs of that aging population. Thankfully, many of those technologies can benefit those suffering from memory loss.

There are mobile and home monitoring devices and services that can help you to keep track of your parents and their homes while you are away. Devices can give them reminders for appointments, medications, or even eat the sandwich in the fridge. These devices can also locate your loved one via GPS tracking if they tend to wander.

5.   Create limitations

While it is essential for your parent to be still able to make choices about their lives, giving them too many options can cause confusion and frustration. For instance, set out two choices of clothing instead of giving them access to a wardrobe. Give them a choice between a sandwich or soup.

Simple options give you enough control to ensure their safety while still allowing them to make decisions about their lives. It is also helpful to limit the surrounding distractions when you are having a conversation. Something as simple as turning off the radio or television, closing the curtains or going to a private area.

This will help them to be able to focus on the conversation and relate in a more meaningful way.

6.   Living choices

parent with dementia

Unfortunately, despite our best intentions and our parent’s intense desire to be able to live at home, there will be a time where we will be unable to cope with the realities of caring for someone with memory loss. As frustrating as it may seem, it is crucial to know when you need to ask for help and look for dementia care services.

There are many options available to help care for and elderly parent with dementia. Assisted living communities, especially those specializing in memory care and dementia care services, are great places to start. They will complete assessments which will help you to determine the individual needs of your parent, as well as help you to come up with a care plan.

These communities can help with ensuring your parents are safe while they are in the early to mid-stages of the disease, and some can even take on more of the caring responsibilities as your parent enters the later stages of the disease. These places can be an excellent choice for your parents if you are unable to care for them yourself.

To find the right place for your parent, you can consult with your parent’s doctor or an online or local support group. There will be many people in your area and elsewhere who have gone through or are going through a similar thing as you and they are more than happy to share what helped them.

 

In short, the most important things you can do for your elderly parent with dementia is to continue to love them, to have patience with them, and to educate yourself so that you can make the best choices in deciding how to care for them as they progress through this stage of their life. Don’t be afraid to ask for all the help and advice that you can get.