Tips to Care for a Parent with Dementia

By Author on December 08, 2011

Dealing with a patient with dementia is not an easy task, especially if the patient is a parent who has been, all of his or her life, the strength and guide of the offspring who now has to switch roles with the parent.

First, it is best to understand the condition and learn to accept it before one can fully embrace the role of being the caregiver for a parent with dementia. You can be at the denial stage right now but the problem is not going to go away just because you do not like to face it. By understanding and accepting the condition, the offspring is able to provide the parent with the best care possible.

Second, it would be a good idea to keep the patient’s mind as active as possible. Such can be achieved by engaging the parent in mind games like chess, scrabble, jigsaw puzzles, or even card games and other games that he or she is used to. However, do not try to force the patient to do something that seems overwhelming even when he or she has been doing it for years. This will only increase the frustration of both the offspring and the patient parent.

Next, keep the area where the patient lives in as clean, pleasant, and safe as possible. Imagine child-proofing the area. As the condition progresses, the parent may have a difficulty navigating places that are once familiar, even homes. Getting lost and wandering out into the street is highly likely. Thus, if there is no caregiver who can keep an eye on the patient 24/7, make sure to keep doors leading out of the house or to unsafe places like upper or lower floors where the patient can fall down navigating the steps locked with locks that could not be opened even from the inside.

Like little kids, dementia patients could easily get tangled in wires or even play with knives, guns, power tools, and other dangerous objects. As much as possible, keep these items locked. Keeping the area clean will also help prevent ailments while providing the patient with a pleasant living environment can help alleviate the condition somehow.

Also, it would be a good idea to supervise activities even though the patient is still in the first stages of dementia. During such stages, the patient may already have trouble remembering where they had left their keys, bags, cars, and other belongings. Slowly, the patient may soon forget how to do activities that had once been so easy to do, including driving. Some could suddenly forget they know how to drive right at the time they are driving out on the street. Thus, make sure that someone capable is always with the patient when he or she is out driving or doing other activities that can be potentially dangerous.

Make sure to supervise medications, exercise programs, and other activities that the patient will be doing. It is easy for the patient to overdose on medications since he or she might forget that the medication has already been taken. Home gyms are great for keeping the patient in good health but dementia patients could easily fall off the treadmill or the exercise bikes or any other equipment. Thus, it is still best to supervise such activities.

Caring for a parent with dementia can be a grueling task that requires almost 24/7 attention. The offspring should also make sure to take good care of self to be able to provide the best care for the parent with dementia.

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